Both onglyza and januvia are antidiabetic drugs that belong to a class of drugs known as DPP-4 or dipeptidyl peptidase-4. This class of drugs is used to control high blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes (T2D). T2D refers to a chronic medical condition where the body does not produce enough insulin or use it properly. Insulin is a hormone which is produced by the beta cells in the pancreas. This naturally occurring hormone works by helping glucose get into the body’s cells to be used for energy. Without insulin, glucose cannot enter the body’s cells, thus they stay in the bloodstream. Too much glucose in the bloodstream can lead to serious health complications such as nerve and kidney damage. To prevent these long term health complications, your doctor may prescribe these medications to people with T2D. DPP-4 inhibitors such as onglyza and januvia work by blocking the action of an enzyme called DPP-4, which destroys incretin. Incretin is a natural hormone that helps the body produce more insulin in case of high blood sugar levels. Incretin also works by reducing the amount of glucose that is produced by the liver. As a result, taking these meds can help reduce high blood sugar levels in people with T2D.

What is Onglyza?

Onglyza is a diabetes medication that is used to control high blood glucose levels in people with T2D. You should take this medication as it is prescribed by your doctor. Your dosage is based on your medical condition and response to treatment. Your doctor may need to change your dose so that you can achieve the best results with this medication. Saxagliptin is the active ingredient in this medication, and is only part of a treatment program which also includes exercise, diet and weight control. You should not take this drug if you are in a state of diabetic ketoacidosis. Onglyza should not be used to treat patients who are younger than 18 years old.

What is Januvia?

Januvia is also an oral diabetes drug that is used to treat type 2 diabetes. Januvia which is a brand name for sitagliptin, affects the amount of insulin produced after eating. Your doctor may need to check your blood sugar levels regularly as you take this medication. Make sure you carefully follow the instructions in the prescription label. Do not take it in larger or smaller amounts than it is recommended by your doctor.

Similarities and differences between Januvia vs. Onglyza


Both medications are used to treat people with type 2 diabetes. However, you should not use these drugs to treat type 1 diabetes, a chronic condition where the pancreas fails to produce any insulin as a result of the immune system attacking pancreas, where insulin is created. There are some common side effects between onglyza and januvia. Taking DPP-4 inhibitors like these meds can lead to side effects such as:

  • skin reactions
  • stomach pain
  • headache
  • diarrhea
  • runny nose
  • nausea

In case you experience adverse side effects which cause severe skin reactions or difficulty breathing, you should seek medical attention immediately.


Onglyza is a brand name for saxagliptin, while januvia refers to a brand name for sitagliptin. Both drugs are expensive oral diabetes drugs. However, there is a slight difference in prices where januvia is sold at a higher price compared to onglyza.

Disclaimer: Please note that the contents of this community article are strictly for informational purposes and should not be considered as medical advice. This article, and other community articles, are not written or reviewed for medical validity by Canadian Insulin or its staff. All views and opinions expressed by the contributing authors are not endorsed by Canadian Insulin. Always consult a medical professional for medical advice, diagnosis, and treatment.