Janumet (sitagliptin/metformin) Doesn’t Have to Be Expensive

Written by Rebecca Farley | Reviewed by a licensed U.S. pharmacist | Posted julio 27, 2020 | Updated marzo 13, 2024

Meet: Janumet, one of the U.S.’s most perplexingly expensive diabetes drugs. A combination of sitagliptin and metformin, the drug works alongside insulin to lower sugar levels in the body. It does not have a generic alternative, and therefore still sells for high prices. Sixty tablets have an average price of almost $600 at U.S. pharmacies. Buying Janumet from a PharmacyChecker-accredited Canadian or international online pharmacy can shave 94% off of this hefty price tag. The price difference is pretty unbelievable, but, considering the U.S. does not regulate the prices of medications we need, our brand-name prices are often off-the-charts expensive compared to those in other nations. This is not because our medicines are necessarily better. Very often the drugs from the U.S. and from, say, Canada are the exact same medication, manufactured by the exact same drug company. Only the prices are radically different.

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Comparing sitagliptin/metformin (Janumet) Prices

Drug Strength Quantity U.S. Average Retail Price PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price Lowest PharmacyChecker-Accredited International Pharmacy Price Greatest Percentage Savings
Janumet (sitagliptin/metformin) 50mg/1000mg 60 tablets $592.37 $449.60 $36.98 94%
Janumet XR (sitagliptin/metformin XR) 50mg/1000mg 60 tablets $582.53 $449.60 $96.34 84%

Sources: Average U.S. Retail Price calculated based on pricing on GoodRx.com. PharmacyChecker U.S. Discount Card Price based on availability at pharmacies near New Orleans, Louisiana. Lowest Accredited International Pharmacy Price based on prices listed on PharmacyChecker.com.

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Everyone is looking for their Janumet coupon

According to Google Trends, the term “Janumet coupon” has seen a tremendous uptick in searches in the past five years. Not to mention, there was a spike in Google interest for “Janumet coupon” in January 2020, maybe because Janumet saw a 5% price bump as of January 1, 2020.

Sitagliptin/metformin is a combination sold under the brand name Janumet; sitagliptin phosphate is sold as brand-name Januvia (another pricey diabetes drug); and ertugliflozin/sitagliptin is sold as Steglujan. Sitagliptin, a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitor, earned its approval from the FDA in 2007 and tends to be expensive; a study on prescription trends in the type 2 diabetic population found that introduction of sitagliptin phosphate (Januvia) led to an increase in the mean cost of prescriptions for patients with diabetes between 2001 and 2007.

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Are there other metformin combination treatments diabetes patients can take?

There are many. Galvus Met (vildagliptin/metformin) is a popular one, although it is only approved in the U.K. and a few other countries. If you would like to take it, you can talk to your provider about establishing a pathway to obtain a prescription for an international drug. Kazano is a combination of alogliptin and metformin; it is the most expensive metformin combination of the bunch. The differences in the metformin combination drugs is in the other half of the pill, which can be of different drug classes. Galvus Met and Kazano contain medication that is part of the DPP-4 Inhibitor class.

Other combinations drugs that contain metformin include:

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Is Janumet a first line medication?

Not usually. First line medication for type 2 diabetes mellitus is usually metformin (brand name: Glucophage). If patients diagnosed with diabetes would like to get insurance coverage for a more expensive drug like Janumet or Jardiance, they may have to undergo prescription drug step therapy. This means that patients would have to first try and fail therapy on a covered cheaper medication like metformin in order for their insurance to possibly cover the more expensive drug. CVS Caremark, for example, will cover Janumet but only if step therapy has been applied. ExpressScripts, though, lists Janumet as a preferred drug, which means the company will cover it.

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What are the side effects of Janumet?

The FDA lists the following possible side effects for patients taking Janumet:

  • Diarrhea

  • Upper respiratory tract infection

  • Headache

After Janumet hit the market, the FDA investigated a potential link between Janumet and increased risk of pancreatitis. Particularly, sitagliptin was at fault. Now, Janumet’s labelling reads:

“There have been postmarketing reports of acute pancreatitis, including fatal and non-fatal hemorrhagic or necrotizing pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is suspected, promptly discontinue Janumet.”

Check in with your provider as you take Janumet to monitor this risk.

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Where is Janumet manufactured?

According to packaging of Janumet sold in U.S. pharmacies, Merck makes it in the UK.

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