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.
Find lowest prices
Powered by GoodRxSave on your next prescription. Be sure you’re getting the lowest price for your medication, even if you have insurance.
Reviews & ratings
Button Group. All currently active
Button Group. All currently active
4.340579710144928Januvia
Reviews for Januvia (Sitagliptin)
43%
of people say Januvia (Sitagliptin) is worth it
34%
say it works well
17%
say it's a big hassle
Reviews for Actos (Pioglitazone)
42%
1% vs. Januvia (Sitagliptin)
31%
3% vs. Januvia (Sitagliptin)
21%
4% vs. Januvia (Sitagliptin)
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%
  • Sore throat 4%
  • Cardiac failure 2%
  • Muscle pain 2%
  • Headache 2%
  • Back pain 1%
  • Sinus inflammation 1%
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
Anti-diabetic
DPP-4 inhibitor
Prescription only
Anti-diabetic
Thiazoladinedione
Prescription only
Available as
JanuviaActos
  • Pill
  • Pill
Used for (click to learn more)
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 category
          JanuviaActos
          BFDA pregnancy category (Probably safe)

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

          See the FDA package insert
          CFDA pregnancy category (Weigh risks vs. benefits)

          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.

          See the FDA package insert
          Alcohol
          No specific alcohol-related info.No specific alcohol-related info.
          Food
          No specific food-related info.No specific food-related info.
          Kidneys and liver
          No specific kidneys and liver-related info.No specific kidneys and liver-related info.
          Sex
          No specific sex-related info.No specific sex-related info.
          Sleep
          No specific sleep-related info.No specific sleep-related info.
          Weight
          • 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.
          • Actos (Pioglitazone) can cause too much fluid buildup in your body, which can cause or worsen congestive heart failure. Your doctor should follow your blood tests and weight closely when you start Actos (Pioglitazone) or increase your dose. People with heart failure classification NYHA Class III/IV shouldn't use Actos (Pioglitazone).
          • Actos (Pioglitazone) may increase fluid buildup in your body, called edema. The risk increases with a higher dose. Tell your doctor about any unexpected weight gain, swelling of extremities, or trouble breathing.
          Upsides and benefits
          JanuviaActos
          • Lowers A1c levels by 0.5-0.8%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
          • 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.
          • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
          • Lowers A1c levels by around 1%. (Hemoglobin A1c measures your average blood sugar over time.)
          • Rarely causes low blood sugar.
          • Oral blood sugar-lowering medicine.
          • Prevents the harmful effects of high sugar levels on your organs and blood vessels.
          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
          More about ActosSide effectsReviews & ratingsAlternativesFDA package insert