Tradjenta is a brand-name prescription medication. It’s FDA-approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes. Tradjenta is used in combination with a balanced diet and regular exercise to help lower blood sugar levels.

With type 2 diabetes, your blood sugar levels become high. Over time, high blood sugar levels can lead to complications. With a balanced diet, physical activity, and medications such as Tradjenta, you can manage your blood sugar levels. Doing so can help prevent diabetes complications.

This drug’s use has certain limitations. For details, see the “Tradjenta uses” section below.

Drug details

Tradjenta contains the active drug linagliptin. It belongs to a drug class called dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors.

Tradjenta comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s available in one strength: 5 milligrams (mg).

Effectiveness

For information about the effectiveness of Tradjenta, see the “Tradjenta uses” section below.

Tradjenta is currently available as a brand-name medication. A generic version of Tradjenta, called linagliptin, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the generic form isn’t yet available in pharmacies.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

Tradjenta can cause mild or serious side effects. The following lists contain some of the key side effects that may occur while taking Tradjenta. These lists do not include all possible side effects.

For more information about the common side effects of Tradjenta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They can give you tips on how to manage any side effects that may be concerning or bothersome.

Note: The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) tracks side effects of drugs it has approved. If you would like to notify the FDA about a side effect you’ve had with Tradjenta, you can do so through MedWatch.

Mild side effects

Mild side effects* of Tradjenta can include:

Most of these side effects may go away within a few days or a couple of weeks. However, if they become more severe or don’t go away, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

* This is a partial list of mild side effects from Tradjenta. To learn about other mild side effects, talk with your doctor or pharmacist, or view Tradjenta’s prescribing information.

Serious side effects

Serious side effects from Tradjenta aren’t common, but they can occur. Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

Serious side effects and their symptoms can include:

* For more information about this side effect, see “Side effect details” below.

Side effect details

Here’s some detail on certain side effects this drug may cause.

Acute pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis (sudden inflammation of the pancreas) is a possible side effect of Tradjenta.

Some people have developed serious cases of acute pancreatitis from Tradjenta. Rarely, this side effect has led to death. For more details about how often this side effect occurred in clinical trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Symptoms of pancreatitis may include:

If you have these symptoms while you’re taking Tradjenta, call your doctor or seek emergency medical care right away. If you are diagnosed with pancreatitis, you may need treatment in a hospital. And your doctor will have you stop taking Tradjenta.

Certain medical conditions can increase your risk of acute pancreatitis with Tradjenta. Your risk may be increased if you’ve had these conditions in the past, even if they aren’t currently causing you problems. These conditions include:

If you have or have had any of the conditions above, be sure to let your doctor know before you start taking Tradjenta. For more information about them, see the “Tradjenta precautions” section below. If you have questions about acute pancreatitis with Tradjenta, talk with your doctor or pharmacist.

Joint pain

Some people may have joint pain while taking Tradjenta. This side effect wasn’t reported in people who took Tradjenta by itself in clinical trials. However, in one study, it occurred in some people who took Tradjenta with other diabetes medications.

In some cases, joint pain can become severe and may reduce your ability to walk or move.

Some people have reported having severe joint pain while taking other DPP-4 inhibitors. (Tradjenta belongs to a drug class called DPP-4 inhibitors.) Some people had joint pain within 1 day of starting a DPP-4 inhibitor. However, in other cases, people took a DPP-4 inhibitor for years before getting joint pain.

If you develop severe pain in your knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, or another joint, talk with your doctor. They may recommend temporarily stopping Tradjenta to see if your pain goes away. Then they’ll determine whether another treatment option would be better for you. Don’t stop taking Tradjenta without consulting your doctor.

Skin condition called bullous pemphigoid

Very rarely, a skin condition called bullous pemphigoid can occur with Tradjenta. This side effect was reported in some people who took the drug in a clinical trial.

Bullous pemphigoid is a rare disorder of the immune system. It can occur when your body’s immune system mistakenly attacks your own healthy tissues. Doctors don’t know why Tradjenta causes this condition in some people.

With bullous pemphigoid, large blisters appear on the body. These blisters may be itchy, discolored, and painful. Blisters may appear on the:

  • lower torso
  • armpits
  • inner thighs
  • soles of the feet
  • palms of the hands
  • mucous membranes (moist surfaces such as the lining inside your nose)

If you have blisters or irritation while taking Tradjenta, tell your doctor. If your doctor confirms that you have bullous pemphigoid, they’ll have you stop taking Tradjenta. They may also prescribe treatment to ease symptoms of this condition. Or, they may have you see a dermatologist or send you to a hospital for treatment.

Allergic reaction

As with most drugs, some people can have an allergic reaction after taking Tradjenta. However, this wasn’t reported in people who took the drug in clinical trials.

Symptoms of a mild allergic reaction can include:

A more severe allergic reaction is rare but possible. Symptoms of a severe allergic reaction can include:

  • swelling under your skin, typically in your eyelids, lips, hands, or feet
  • swelling of your tongue, mouth, or throat
  • trouble breathing or swallowing
  • urticaria (hives), which is a raised, itchy rash
  • flaking or peeling of your skin

Call your doctor right away if you have an allergic reaction to Tradjenta, as the reaction could become severe. Call 911 or your local emergency number if your symptoms feel life threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency.

The following information describes the dosage of Tradjenta that is commonly recommended. However, be sure to take the dosage your doctor prescribes for you. Your doctor will determine the best dosage to fit your needs.

Drug forms and strengths

Tradjenta comes as tablets that you swallow. It’s available in one strength: 5 milligrams (mg).

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

The usual dosage of Tradjenta is one 5-mg tablet once daily.

What if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Tradjenta, take it as soon as you remember. However, if it’s time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and continue taking one dose daily. You shouldn’t take a double dose of Tradjenta to make up for a missed dose.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Will I need to take this drug long term?

Tradjenta is meant to be taken as a long-term treatment. If you and your doctor determine that Tradjenta is safe and effective for you, you’ll likely take it long term.

As with all medications, the cost of Tradjenta can vary. To find current prices for Tradjenta in your area, check out GoodRx.com.


The cost you find on GoodRx.com is what you may pay without insurance. The actual price you’ll pay depends on your insurance plan, your location, and the pharmacy you use.

Keep in mind that you may be able to get a 90-day supply of Tradjenta. If approved by your insurance company, getting a 90-day supply of the drug could reduce your number of trips to the pharmacy and help lower the cost. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company.

Before approving coverage for Tradjenta, your insurance company may require you to get prior authorization. This means that your doctor and insurance company will need to communicate about your prescription before the insurance company will cover the drug. The insurance company will review the prior authorization request and decide if the drug will be covered.

If you’re not sure if you’ll need to get prior authorization for Tradjenta, contact your insurance company.

Financial and insurance assistance

If you need financial support to pay for Tradjenta, or if you need help understanding your insurance coverage, help is available.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., the manufacturer of Tradjenta, offers the Tradjenta savings program. This program can help lower the cost of this drug. For more information and to find out if you’re eligible for support, visit the program website.

To learn more about saving money on prescriptions, check out this article.

Mail-order pharmacies

Tradjenta may be available through a mail-order pharmacy. Using this service may help lower the drug’s cost and allow you to get your medication without leaving home.

If recommended by your doctor, you may be able to receive a 90-day supply of Tradjenta, so there’s less concern about running out of the medication. If you’re interested in this option, check with your doctor, pharmacist, or insurance company. Some Medicare plans may help cover the cost of mail-order medications.

If you don’t have insurance, you can ask your doctor or pharmacist about online pharmacy options.

Generic version

Tradjenta is currently available as a brand-name medication. A generic version of Tradjenta, called linagliptin, has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). However, the generic form isn’t yet available at pharmacies.

A generic drug is an exact copy of the active drug in a brand-name medication. Generics usually cost less than brand-name drugs.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approves prescription drugs such as Tradjenta to treat certain conditions.

Tradjenta for type 2 diabetes

Tradjenta is FDA-approved to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It’s used in combination with diet and exercise.

About type 2 diabetes

With type 2 diabetes, the level of sugar in your blood becomes high.

Typically, a hormone called insulin signals your body to move sugar from your blood into your cells. However, with type 2 diabetes, your body becomes insulin resistant, meaning it doesn’t correctly respond to insulin. As a result, sugar does not move into your cells, and your blood sugar levels remain high.

Over time, high blood sugar can lead to diabetes worsening and long-term complications. Examples of these long-term complications may include:

If your blood sugar levels stay within a healthy range, diabetes progression may be slowed, and its complications may be prevented. Following these measures may help you keep your levels in a healthy range:

  • taking your diabetes medication as prescribed
  • eating a balanced diet
  • exercising regularly

To learn more about managing type 2 diabetes, check out Medical News Today’s diabetes hub.

Limitations of use

This drug’s use has certain limitations. Tradjenta should not be taken to treat:

Additionally, it isn’t known if Tradjenta is safe for use in people with a history of pancreatitis (swelling of the pancreas). People with a history of pancreatitis weren’t included in Tradjenta’s clinical trials. (For more information about Tradjenta and pancreatitis, see “Side effect details” in the “Tradjenta side effects” section above.)

Effectiveness for type 2 diabetes

The American Diabetes Association lists DPP-4 inhibitors as a treatment option in certain situations for treating type 2 diabetes. (Tradjenta belongs to a class of drugs called DPP-4 inhibitors.)

Specifically, these guidelines include DPP-4 inhibitors as a type of medication that doctors may prescribe in addition to metformin. This is the case when metformin doesn’t lower blood sugar levels enough. (Doctors commonly prescribe metformin as the first medication for type 2 diabetes.)

Keep in mind that your doctor isn’t required to follow these treatment guidelines. Your doctor may prescribe Tradjenta by itself or with other medications used to treat diabetes. They’ll suggest a treatment plan that’s best for you.

Tradjenta has been shown to be effective for lowering blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes in clinical trials. For more information on how the drug performed in these trials, see the drug’s prescribing information.

Tradjenta and children

Tradjenta is only approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes.

This medication hasn’t been studied in children with type 2 diabetes. So it isn’t known if Tradjenta is safe or effective in children with this condition.

In combination with a balanced diet and regular exercise, Tradjenta is used to lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Your doctor may prescribe Tradjenta by itself or with other diabetes medications.

Some of these other drugs may include:

Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about Tradjenta.

Does Tradjenta have renal dosing? And does it cause kidney side effects?

No, there isn’t a renal dosing adjustment for Tradjenta. (Renal dosing adjustments may be recommended for some drugs in people with kidney problems.) And the drug doesn’t cause kidney problems.

However, people with diabetes have an increased risk of kidney problems. This is because over time, high blood sugar levels can damage the kidneys.

Your doctor will want to know about any kidney problems you have before they’ll prescribe Tradjenta. Having kidney problems may increase your risk of developing heart failure. And heart failure is a rare but possible side effect of taking Tradjenta.

If you have questions about Tradjenta affecting your kidneys, talk with your doctor.

Is there a dosage conversion between Tradjenta and Januvia?

No, there isn’t a dosage conversion between Tradjenta and Januvia. If your doctor switches you from one medication to the other, they’ll prescribe the dosage that’s best for you.

To learn about the differences and similarities of these medications, see the section below called “Tradjenta vs. Januvia.

Does Tradjenta cure diabetes?

Tradjenta isn’t a cure for diabetes. Instead, it helps lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. Tradjenta is meant to be used in combination with a balanced diet and regular exercise to manage blood sugar levels.

You can help slow down the progression of type 2 diabetes by:

  • maintaining healthy blood sugar levels with medications, as prescribed by your doctor
  • following a balanced diet
  • exercising regularly

Is Tradjenta taken for weight loss?

No, Tradjenta isn’t taken for weight loss. Instead, it’s approved to treat type 2 diabetes by lowering blood sugar levels.

Significant weight changes weren’t seen in people who took Tradjenta in clinical trials.

Talk with your doctor if you’d like to learn more about healthy ways to lose weight.

Is Tradjenta taken in 10-mg doses?

No, 10-milligram (mg) doses of Tradjenta aren’t recommended. Instead, the drug’s approved dosage is 5 mg per day.

In certain trials, a dosage of 10 mg per day was tested. However, this was done to learn more about Tradjenta’s safety and its possible drug interactions.

While you’re taking Tradjenta, your doctor will likely have you monitor your blood sugar levels. Tracking your blood sugar levels help you and your doctor determine if Tradjenta is working for you.

If your blood sugar levels remain high, talk with your doctor. You shouldn’t take additional doses or increase your dosage of Tradjenta. And be sure to talk with your doctor before making changes to your medications.

Other drugs are available that can treat type 2 diabetes. Some may be a better fit for you than others. If you’re interested in finding an alternative to Tradjenta, talk with your doctor. They can tell you about other medications that may work well for you.

Examples of other drugs that may be used as alternatives to Tradjenta include:

  • alogliptin (Nesina)
  • sitagliptin (Januvia)
  • saxagliptin (Onglyza)
  • empagliflozin/linagliptin (Glyxambi)
  • linagliptin/metformin (Jentadueto, Jentadueto XR)
  • empagliflozin/linagliptin/metformin (Trijardy XR)

Many other drugs are also used to treat diabetes. Ask your doctor if you’d like to know more about these other options.

You may wonder how Tradjenta compares with other medications that are prescribed for similar uses. To find out how Tradjenta compares with Januvia, see this article.

Alcohol hasn’t been specifically reported to interact with Tradjenta.

However, drinking alcohol can make blood sugar levels harder to manage. Keep in mind, Tradjenta is prescribed for people with type 2 diabetes to help manage blood sugar levels.

It’s also important to note that having alcohol use disorder, or a history of it, can increase your risk of pancreatitis (inflammation in your pancreas). Rarely, Tradjenta can cause pancreatitis as a side effect. So your risk of pancreatitis with Tradjenta may be higher in these cases.

For more information about alcohol consumption and diabetes, talk with your doctor. You can ask them how much alcohol, if any, is safe for you to drink while you’re taking Tradjenta.

Tradjenta can interact with several other medications. It may also interact with certain supplements.

Different interactions can cause different effects. For instance, some interactions can interfere with how well a drug works. Other interactions can increase side effects or make them more severe.

Tradjenta and other medications

Below is a list of medications that can interact with Tradjenta. This list does not contain all drugs that may interact with Tradjenta.

Before taking Tradjenta, talk with your doctor and pharmacist. Tell them about all prescription, over-the-counter, and other drugs you take. Also, tell them about any vitamins, herbs, and supplements you use. Sharing this information can help you avoid potential interactions.

If you have questions about drug interactions that may affect you, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Drugs that can interact with Tradjenta include:

  • Insulin, which may increase the risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when taken with Tradjenta. Some examples include:
    • insulin aspart (Novolog)
    • insulin glargine (Basaglar, Lantus, Semglee)
  • Sulfonylurea drugs, which may increase the risk of hypoglycemia when taken with Tradjenta. Some examples include:
  • The antibiotic rifampin, which may make Tradjenta less effective.

If your doctor prescribes Tradjenta in combination certain other diabetes treatments, they may adjust the dosages of the medications. And they may have you monitor your blood sugar levels more often than usual.

Tradjenta and herbs and supplements

There aren’t any herbs or supplements that have been specifically reported to interact with Tradjenta.

However, some herbs and supplements may lower your blood sugar level. Keep in mind that Tradjenta is taken to lower blood sugar levels. So it’s possible that combining certain herbs or supplements with Tradjenta could lead to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar).

To be safe, check with your doctor or pharmacist before using any of these products while taking Tradjenta.

Tradjenta and foods

There aren’t any foods that have been specifically reported to interact with Tradjenta. If you have any questions about eating certain foods with Tradjenta, talk with your doctor.

You should take Tradjenta according to your healthcare professional’s instructions.

When to take

You’ll take Tradjenta once daily, at any time. It’s best to take your dose around the same time each day.

To help make sure that you don’t miss a dose, try using a medication reminder. This can include setting an alarm or using a timer. You could also download a reminder app on your phone.

Taking Tradjenta with food

You can take Tradjenta with or without food.

Can Tradjenta be crushed, split, or chewed?

Tradjenta comes as a tablet that you swallow. The manufacturer of Tradjenta hasn’t stated whether this drug can be crushed, split, or chewed.

If you have trouble swallowing tablets, talk with your doctor or pharmacist. They may recommend switching to a different medication.

Tradjenta is used in combination with a balanced diet and exercise to lower blood sugar levels. It’s prescribed for adults with type 2 diabetes.

Tradjenta contains the active drug linagliptin, which is a dipeptidyl peptidase 4 (DPP-4) inhibitor.

The drug works by inhibiting (blocking) the enzyme DPP-4. (Enzymes are types of proteins.) This enzyme usually breaks down two peptides (small molecules) in your body called GLP-1 and GIP. By blocking DPP-4, Tradjenta increases the amounts of these peptides in your body.

Having more GLP-1 and GIP in your body stimulates your pancreas to release more insulin. Typically, insulin signals your body to move sugar from your blood into your cells. However, with type 2 diabetes, your body becomes insulin-resistant and doesn’t respond to insulin correctly.

When Tradjenta helps your pancreas release more insulin, your body should respond to the insulin. This means the amount of sugar in your blood should then decrease.

Also, having more GLP-1 in your body leads to lower levels of a hormone called glucagon. Glucagon signals your liver to break down a stored form of sugar and release it into your blood. With lower levels of glucagon in your body, your blood sugar levels should be decreased.

How long does it take to work?

Tradjenta starts to work within a few days of starting treatment. However, it may take several weeks for the medication to provide its full effect.

To see how Tradjenta affects your blood sugar levels, your doctor will likely have you monitor the levels. Tracking your blood sugar levels helps you and your doctor determine if Tradjenta is working for you.

After at least 3 months, your doctor will likely order an A1C test. This is a blood test that measures your average blood sugar levels over the past 3 months.

It isn’t known for sure if Tradjenta is safe to take during pregnancy. The drug hasn’t been studied enough in pregnant people.

If you’re pregnant or planning to become pregnant, talk with your doctor before they prescribe Tradjenta. And tell your doctor if you become pregnant while taking the medication.

Your doctor will likely not prescribe Tradjenta while you’re pregnant. They’ll recommend other ways to manage your blood sugar during this time.

It’s not known if Tradjenta is safe to take during pregnancy. If you’re sexually active and you or your partner can become pregnant, talk with your doctor about your birth control needs while you’re using Tradjenta.

For more information about taking Tradjenta during pregnancy, see the “Tradjenta and pregnancy” section above.

It isn’t known if Tradjenta is safe to take while breastfeeding. The drug wasn’t studied in people who were breastfeeding.

In animal studies, Tradjenta passed into the milk of rats. However, the effects of Tradjenta on human breast milk and children who are breastfed are unknown.

Your doctor will likely not prescribe Tradjenta while you’re breastfeeding. They’ll recommend other ways to manage your blood sugar during this time.

Before taking Tradjenta, talk with your doctor about your health history. Tradjenta may not be right for you if you have certain medical conditions or other factors affecting your health. These include:

  • Heart or kidney problems. Some people have had heart failure while taking Tradjenta. If you already have heart problems, you may be at higher risk of this serious side effect. In some cases, kidney problems can be a risk factor for heart failure. If you have heart or kidney problems, your doctor can tell you more about the possible risks and benefits of taking this medication.
  • History of pancreatitis. Less commonly, Tradjenta may cause acute pancreatitis (sudden swelling of the pancreas). In rare cases, this side effect has led to death. People with a history of pancreatitis weren’t included in Tradjenta’s clinical trials. So it isn’t known if this factor could increase the risk of having this serious side effect. If you’ve had pancreatitis, tell your doctor. They may prescribe a treatment other than Tradjenta for you.
  • High blood triglyceride levels. In rare cases, Tradjenta may cause acute pancreatitis. In extreme cases, this side effect has led to death. Your risk of pancreatitis with Tradjenta may be higher if you have a high triglyceride level. Talk with your doctor about whether Tradjenta is safe to take given your triglyceride level.
  • Gallstones. While rare, Tradjenta may cause acute pancreatitis. In extreme cases, this side effect has led to death. Having gallstones, either currently or in the past, can increase your risk of this side effect with Tradjenta. Your doctor can help determine whether Tradjenta is safe for you to take.
  • Alcohol use disorder. It isn’t common, but Tradjenta may cause acute pancreatitis. In rare cases, this side effect has led to death. Having alcohol use disorder, or a history of it, can increase your risk of pancreatitis with Tradjenta. Your doctor can help determine whether Tradjenta is safe for you to take in this case.
  • Allergic reaction. If you’ve had an allergic reaction to Tradjenta or any of its ingredients, your doctor will likely not prescribe Tradjenta. Ask your doctor what other medications are better options for you.
  • Pregnancy. It isn’t known if Tradjenta is safe to take during pregnancy. For more information, see the “Tradjenta and pregnancy” section above.
  • Breastfeeding. It isn’t known if Tradjenta is safe to take while breastfeeding. For more information, see the “Tradjenta and breastfeeding” section above.

Note: For more information about the potential negative effects of Tradjenta, see the “Tradjenta side effects” section above.

Do not take more Tradjenta than your doctor recommends. For some drugs, doing so may lead to unwanted side effects or overdose.

What to do in case you take too much Tradjenta

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor. You can also call the American Association of Poison Control Centers at 800-222-1222 or use its online tool. However, if your symptoms are severe, call 911 or your local emergency number, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

When you get Tradjenta from the pharmacy, the pharmacist will add an expiration date to the label on the bottle. This date is typically 1 year from the date they dispensed the medication.

The expiration date helps guarantee that the medication is effective during this time. The current stance of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is to avoid using expired medications. If you have unused medication that has gone past the expiration date, talk with your pharmacist about whether you might still be able to use it.

Storage

How long a medication remains good to use can depend on many factors, including how and where you store the medication.

Tradjenta tablets should be stored at room temperature (68°F to 77°F/20°C to 25°C). They should be kept in a tightly sealed container away from light. Avoid storing this medication in areas where it could get damp or wet, such as bathrooms.

Disposal

If you no longer need to take Tradjenta and have leftover medication, it’s important to dispose of it safely. This helps prevent others, including children and pets, from taking the drug by accident. It also helps keep the drug from harming the environment.

This article provides several useful tips on medication disposal. You can also ask your pharmacist for information about how to dispose of your medication.

Disclaimer: Medical News Today has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up to date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or another healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained herein is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.