Compare Januvia vs. Actos

Head-to-head comparisons of medication uses, side effects, ratings, and more.

Januvia
(Sitagliptin)

Actos
(Pioglitazone)

Lowers blood sugar. Januvia (Sitagliptin) is a good add-on treatment if your blood sugar is still too high, but you don't want to use an injectable medicine.Lowers blood sugar. Actos (Pioglitazone) is a last-choice blood sugar-lowering medicine since it's only moderately effective but has a lot of undesirable side effects.
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Reviews & ratings
Filter group. All currently selected
Filter group. All currently selected
4.34Januvia
Reviews for Januvia (Sitagliptin)
44%
of people (All ages) say Januvia (Sitagliptin) is worth it
34%
say it works well
17%
say it's a big hassle
143 reviews
Have you used Januvia (Sitagliptin)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Reviews for Actos (Pioglitazone)
42%
-2% worse vs. Januvia (Sitagliptin)
30%
-4% worse vs. Januvia (Sitagliptin)
21%
-4% worse vs. Januvia (Sitagliptin)
175 reviews
Have you used Actos (Pioglitazone)?
Worth itNot sureNot worth it
Side effects
JanuviaActos
  • Common cold 2%
  • Diarrhea 1%
More Januvia side effects »
  • Swelling due to excess fluid 11%
  • Low blood sugar 8%
  • Ear, nose, or throat infection 4%
  • Headache 2%
  • Cardiac failure 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
  • Muscle pain 2%
More Actos side effects »
How it works
JanuviaActos
Januvia (Sitagliptin) is an anti-diabetic drug. It helps your body release more insulin in order to lower blood sugar.Actos (Pioglitazone) is an anti-diabetic drug. It improves your body's ability to use insulin to lower your blood sugar.
Type of medication
JanuviaActos
Prescription only
Prescription only
Available as
JanuviaActos
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for
JanuviaActos
Risk factors for serious side effects
JanuviaActos
      Detailed Januvia (Sitagliptin) risks & warnings »
      • Heart failure diagnosis
        • Current liver problems
          • Female
          Detailed Actos (Pioglitazone) risks & warnings »
          Pregnancy

          Research studies with animals haven’t found a risk to unborn babies, but it hasn’t been properly studied in humans.

          Research studies with animals found harmful effects on unborn babies. It hasn’t been properly studied in humans. The benefits might outweigh the risks even if you’re pregnant. Talk with your doctor.

          Weight
          JanuviaActos
          • Unlike some diabetes medicines, it's unlikely to cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
          • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
          • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
          Upsides and benefits
          JanuviaActos
          • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
          • Lowers A1c levels by 0.5-0.8%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
          • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
          • Uses the hormones naturally produced by your body to affect how sugar is processed.
          • Unlike some diabetes medicines, it's unlikely to cause weight gain and low blood sugar.
          • You don't have to check your blood sugar every day with this medicine.
          • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
          • Lowers A1c levels by around 1%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
          • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
          • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
          Downsides and risks
          JanuviaActos
          • Not as strong as other diabetes medicines. Your doctor might add it to your blood sugar-lowering regimen if your sugar levels are still too high.
          • Likely expensive since there's no generic version available.
          • Some people might get frequent throat infections or nasal congestion.
          • May take several weeks to lower blood sugar.
          • You have to check your blood sugar regularly with this medicine.
          • Has more side effects than similar medicines, so it's usually not the first choice for new Type 2 diabetes patients.
          • More likely to cause weight gain (2 to 6 pounds or more) compared to other blood sugar-lowering medicines.
          • Up to 1 in 10 people might get fluid retention (edema), ranging from mild ankle swelling to severe swelling in the lungs that makes it hard to breathe. People with severe congestive heart failure shouldn't use Actos.
          • Raises the risk of bone fractures, especially for people who already have a risk for fractures.
          • Slightly raises the risk of bladder cancer.
          Tips from our pharmacists for people taking the medication
          JanuviaActos
          • Can cause headache and cold-like symptoms.
          • Tell your doctor about persistent stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, or loss of appetite.
          • Can be expensive depending on insurance coverage.
          • Check your blood sugar regularly.
          • Takes several weeks to see full effect on blood sugar control.
          • Can cause weight gain, headache, and fluid retention.
          • Tell your doctor about any mental confusion, persistent abdominal pain, dark urine, yellowing of eyes/skin, or easy bruising.
          • Not recommended for patients with certain heart problems.
          • Check your blood sugar regularly.
          Learn more
          More about JanuviaSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Januvia (Sitagliptin)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it
          More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert
          Have you used Actos (Pioglitazone)?
          Worth itNot sureNot worth it