Saxagliptin (trade name: Onglyza) has been approved in Germany since October 2009 for the treatment of type 2 diabetes in adults who cannot lower blood sugar levels enough through exercise and diet alone. This drug can be combined with other blood-sugar-lowering medications such as metformin, sulfonylurea or insulin. It can be used as a single drug too, if metformin is not well tolerated.

Diabetes is a metabolic disease that affects many parts of the body. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas still produces enough insulin at first, but the body’s cells gradually lose the ability to absorb and use the insulin. If blood sugar levels cannot be lowered enough through a change in diet and exercise habits, blood-sugar-lowering medication is used.

The aim of this treatment in type 2 diabetes is to avoid strong fluctuations in blood sugar levels and the effects of high and low blood sugar. A further goal of this treatment is to prevent long-term complications that may arise if blood sugar levels are too high.


Saxagliptin is taken once a day in tablet form at a dose of 5 mg. If saxagliptin is combined with sulfonylurea or insulin, their doses may have to be adjusted to prevent hypoglycemia.

Other treatments

Type 2 diabetes can be treated with a number of different medicines, either as monotherapy or in combination with each other. These medicines include metformin, sulfonylurea and insulin.


The Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany) last looked into whether saxagliptin offers advantages or disadvantages when compared with the standard treatments in 2016.

However, the manufacturer did not provide any suitable data with which to do the assessment. This is also true of the SAVOR-TIMI 53 study.

Research summaries

More information

This information summarizes the main results of reviews produced by the Institute for Quality and Efficiency in Health Care (IQWiG, Germany). The reviews were commissioned by the German Federal Joint Committee (G-BA) as part of the “early benefit assessment of medications.” On the basis of the reviews and the hearings received, the G-BA passed a resolution on the added benefit of saxagliptin (Onglyza).