May 23, 2017
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Included as part of the PRECAUTIONS section.



There have been postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis in patients taking ONGLYZA. In a cardiovascular outcomes trial enrolling participants with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD) or multiple risk factors for ASCVD (SAVOR trial), cases of definite acute pancreatitis were confirmed in 17 of 8240 (0.2%) patients receiving ONGLYZA compared to 9 of 8173 (0.1%) receiving placebo. Preexisting risk factors for pancreatitis were identified in 88% (15/17) of those patients receiving ONGLYZA and in 100% (9/9) of those patients receiving placebo.

After initiation of ONGLYZA, observe patients for signs and symptoms of pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is suspected, promptly discontinue ONGLYZA and initiate appropriate management. It is unknown whether patients with a history of pancreatitis are at increased risk for the development of pancreatitis while using ONGLYZA.

Heart Failure

In a cardiovascular outcomes trial enrolling participants with established ASCVD or multiple risk factors for ASCVD (SAVOR trial), more patients randomized to ONGLYZA (289/8280, 3.5%) were hospitalized for heart failure compared to patients randomized to placebo (228/8212, 2.8%). In a time-to-first-event analysis the risk of hospitalization for heart failure was higher in the ONGLYZA group (estimated Hazard Ratio: 1.27; 95% CI: 1.07, 1.51). Subjects with a prior history of heart failure and subjects with renal impairment had a higher risk for hospitalization for heart failure, irrespective of treatment assignment.

Consider the risks and benefits of ONGLYZA prior to initiating treatment in patients at a higher risk for heart failure. Observe patients for signs and symptoms of heart failure during therapy. Advise patients of the characteristic symptoms of heart failure and to immediately report such symptoms. If heart failure develops, evaluate and manage according to current standards of care and consider discontinuation of ONGLYZA.

Hypoglycemia With Concomitant Use Of Sulfonylurea Or Insulin

When ONGLYZA was used in combination with a sulfonylurea or with insulin, medications known to cause hypoglycemia, the incidence of confirmed hypoglycemia was increased over that of placebo used in combination with a sulfonylurea or with insulin [see ADVERSE REACTIONS]. Therefore, a lower dose of the insulin secretagogue or insulin may be required to minimize the risk of hypoglycemia when used in combination with ONGLYZA [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION].

Hypersensitivity Reactions

There have been postmarketing reports of serious hypersensitivity reactions in patients treated with ONGLYZA. These reactions include anaphylaxis, angioedema, and exfoliative skin conditions. Onset of these reactions occurred within the first 3 months after initiation of treatment with ONGLYZA, with some reports occurring after the first dose.

If a serious hypersensitivity reaction is suspected, discontinue ONGLYZA, assess for other potential causes for the event, and institute alternative treatment for diabetes [see ADVERSE REACTIONS].

Use caution in a patient with a history of angioedema to another dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP4) inhibitor because it is unknown whether such patients will be predisposed to angioedema with ONGLYZA.

Severe And Disabling Arthralgia

There have been postmarketing reports of severe and disabling arthralgia in patients taking DPP4 inhibitors. The time to onset of symptoms following initiation of drug therapy varied from one day to years. Patients experienced relief of symptoms upon discontinuation of the medication. A subset of patients experienced a recurrence of symptoms when restarting the same drug or a different DPP4 inhibitor. Consider DPP4 inhibitors as a possible cause for severe joint pain and discontinue drug if appropriate.

Bullous Pemphigoid

Postmarketing cases of bullous pemphigoid requiring hospitalization have been reported with DPP-4 inhibitor use. In reported cases, patients typically recovered with topical or systemic immunosuppressive treatment and discontinuation of the DPP-4 inhibitor. Tell patients to report development of blisters or erosions while receiving ONGLYZA. If bullous

pemphigoid is suspected, ONGLYZA should be discontinued and referral to a dermatologist should be considered for diagnosis and appropriate treatment.

Macrovascular Outcomes

There have been no clinical studies establishing conclusive evidence of macrovascular risk reduction with ONGLYZA or any other antidiabetic drug.

Patient Counseling Information

Advise the patient to read FDA-approved patient labeling (Medication Guide).

Medication Guide

Healthcare providers should instruct their patients to read the Medication Guide before starting ONGLYZA therapy and to reread it each time the prescription is renewed. Patients should be instructed to inform their healthcare provider if they develop any unusual symptom or if any existing symptom persists or worsens.

Patients should be informed of the potential risks and benefits of ONGLYZA and of alternative modes of therapy. Patients should also be informed about the importance of adherence to dietary instructions, regular physical activity, periodic blood glucose monitoring and A1C testing, recognition and management of hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia, and assessment of diabetes complications. During periods of stress such as fever, trauma, infection, or surgery, medication requirements may change and patients should be advised to seek medical advice promptly.


Patients should be informed that acute pancreatitis has been reported during postmarketing use of ONGLYZA. Before initiating ONGLYZA, patients should be questioned about other risk factors for pancreatitis, such as a history of pancreatitis, alcoholism, gallstones, or hypertriglyceridemia. Patients should also be informed that persistent severe abdominal pain, sometimes radiating to the back, which may or may not be accompanied by vomiting, is the hallmark symptom of acute pancreatitis. Patients should be instructed to promptly discontinue ONGLYZA and contact their healthcare provider if persistent severe abdominal pain occurs [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Heart Failure

Patients should be informed of the signs and symptoms of heart failure. Before initiating ONGLYZA, patients should be asked about a history of heart failure or other risk factors for heart failure including moderate to severe renal impairment. Patients should be instructed to contact their healthcare provider as soon as possible if they experience symptoms of heart failure, including increasing shortness of breath, rapid increase in weight or swelling of the feet [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Hypersensitivity Reactions

Patients should be informed that serious allergic (hypersensitivity) reactions, such as angioedema, anaphylaxis, and exfoliative skin conditions, have been reported during postmarketing use of ONGLYZA. If symptoms of these allergic reactions (such as rash, skin flaking or peeling, urticaria, swelling of the skin, or swelling of the face, lips, tongue, and throat that may cause difficulty in breathing or swallowing) occur, patients must stop taking ONGLYZA and seek medical advice promptly.

Severe And Disabling Arthralgia

Inform patients that severe and disabling joint pain may occur with this class of drugs. The time to onset of symptoms can range from one day to years. Instruct patients to seek medical advice if severe joint pain occurs [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Bullous Pemphigoid

Inform patients that bullous pemphigoid may occur with this class of drugs. Instruct patients to seek medical advice if blisters or erosions occur [see WARNINGS AND PRECAUTIONS].

Missed Dose

Patients should be informed that if they miss a dose of ONGLYZA they should take the next dose as prescribed, unless otherwise instructed by their healthcare provider. Patients should be instructed not to take an extra dose the next day.

Administration Instructions

Patients should be informed that ONGLYZA tablets must not be split or cut.

Laboratory Tests

Patients should be informed that response to all diabetic therapies should be monitored by periodic measurements of blood glucose and A1C, with a goal of decreasing these levels toward the normal range. A1C is especially useful for evaluating long-term glycemic control. Patients should be informed of the potential need to adjust their dose based on changes in renal function tests over time.

Nonclinical Toxicology

Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility


Saxagliptin did not induce tumors in either mice (50, 250, and 600 mg/kg) or rats (25, 75, 150, and 300 mg/kg) at the highest doses evaluated. The highest doses evaluated in mice were equivalent to approximately 870 (males) and 1165 (females) times the human exposure at the MRHD of 5 mg/day. In rats, exposures were approximately 355 (males) and 2217 (females) times the MRHD.


Saxagliptin was not mutagenic or clastogenic with or without metabolic activation in an in vitro Ames bacterial assay, an in vitro cytogenetics assay in primary human lymphocytes, an in vivo oral micronucleus assay in rats, an in vivo oral DNA repair study in rats, and an oral in vivo/in vitro cytogenetics study in rat peripheral blood lymphocytes. The active metabolite was not mutagenic in an in vitro Ames bacterial assay.

Impairment Of Fertility

In a rat fertility study, males were treated with oral gavage doses for 2 weeks prior to mating, during mating, and up to scheduled termination (approximately 4 weeks total) and females were treated with oral gavage doses for 2 weeks prior to mating through gestation day 7. No adverse effects on fertility were observed at exposures of approximately 603 (males) and 776 (females) times the MRHD. Higher doses that elicited maternal toxicity also increased fetal resorptions (approximately 2069 and 6138 times the MRHD). Additional effects on estrous cycling, fertility, ovulation, and implantation were observed at approximately 6138 times the MRHD.

Animal Toxicology And/Or Pharmacology

Saxagliptin produced adverse skin changes in the extremities of cynomolgus monkeys (scabs and/or ulceration of tail, digits, scrotum, and/or nose). Skin lesions were reversible at ≥ 20 times the MRHD but in some cases were irreversible and necrotizing at higher exposures. Adverse skin changes were not observed at exposures similar to (1 to 3 times) the MRHD of 5 mg. Clinical correlates to skin lesions in monkeys have not been observed in human clinical trials of saxagliptin.

Use In Specific Populations


Pregnancy Category B

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. Because animal reproduction studies are not always predictive of human response, ONGLYZA, like other antidiabetic medications, should be used during pregnancy only if clearly needed.

Saxagliptin was not teratogenic at any dose tested when administered to pregnant rats and rabbits during periods of organogenesis. Incomplete ossification of the pelvis, a form of developmental delay, occurred in rats at a dose of 240 mg/kg, or approximately 1503 and 66 times human exposure to saxagliptin and the active metabolite, respectively, at the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 5 mg. Maternal toxicity and reduced fetal body weights were observed at 7986 and 328 times the human exposure at the MRHD for saxagliptin and the active metabolite, respectively. Minor skeletal variations in rabbits occurred at a maternally toxic dose of 200 mg/kg, or approximately 1432 and 992 times the MRHD.

Coadministration of saxagliptin and metformin, to pregnant rats and rabbits during the period of organogenesis, was neither embryolethal nor teratogenic in either species when tested at doses yielding systemic exposures (AUC) up to 100 and 10 times the MRHD (saxagliptin 5 mg and metformin 2000 mg), respectively, in rats; and 249 and 1.1 times the MRHDs in rabbits. In rats, minor developmental toxicity was limited to an increased incidence of wavy ribs; associated maternal toxicity was limited to weight decrements of 11% to 17% over the course of the study, and related reductions in maternal food consumption. In rabbits, coadministration was poorly tolerated in a subset of mothers (12 of 30), resulting in death, moribundity, or abortion. However, among surviving mothers with evaluable litters, maternal toxicity was limited to marginal reductions in body weight over the course of gestation days 21 to 29; and associated developmental toxicity in these litters was limited to fetal body weight decrements of 7%, and a low incidence of delayed ossification of the fetal hyoid.

Saxagliptin administered to female rats from gestation day 6 to lactation day 20 resulted in decreased body weights in male and female offspring only at maternally toxic doses (exposures ≥ 1629 and 53 times saxagliptin and its active metabolite at the MRHD). No functional or behavioral toxicity was observed in offspring of rats administered saxagliptin at any dose.

Saxagliptin crosses the placenta into the fetus following dosing in pregnant rats.

Nursing Mothers

Saxagliptin is secreted in the milk of lactating rats at approximately a 1:1 ratio with plasma drug concentrations. It is not known whether saxagliptin is secreted in human milk. Because many drugs are secreted in human milk, caution should be exercised when ONGLYZA is administered to a nursing woman.

Pediatric Use

Safety and effectiveness of ONGLYZA in pediatric patients under 18 years of age have not been established. Additionally, studies characterizing the pharmacokinetics of ONGLYZA in pediatric patients have not been performed.

Geriatric Use

In the seven, double-blind, controlled clinical safety and efficacy trials of ONGLYZA, a total of 4751 (42.0%) of the 11301 patients randomized to ONGLYZA were 65 years and over, and 1210 (10.7%) were 75 years and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between subjects ≥ 65 years old and younger subjects. While this clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.

Saxagliptin and its active metabolite are eliminated in part by the kidney. Because elderly patients are more likely to have decreased renal function, care should be taken in dose selection in the elderly based on renal function [see DOSAGE AND ADMINISTRATION and CLINICAL PHARMACOLOGY].

Renal Impairment

In a 12-week randomized placebo-controlled trial, ONGLYZA 2.5 mg was administered to 85 subjects with moderate (n=48) or severe (n=18) renal impairment or end-stage renal disease (ESRD) (n=19) [see Clinical Studies]. The incidence of adverse events, including serious adverse events and discontinuations due to adverse events, was similar between ONGLYZA and placebo. The overall incidence of reported hypoglycemia was 20% among subjects treated with ONGLYZA 2.5 mg and 22% among subjects treated with placebo. Four ONGLYZA-treated subjects (4.7%) and three placebo-treated subjects (3.5%) reported at least one episode of confirmed symptomatic hypoglycemia (accompanying fingerstick glucose ≤ 50 mg/dL).

This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.

Last reviewed on RxList: 3/9/2017


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