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SGLT2 Inhibitors

Overview

About SGLT2

Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a class of oral (taken by mouth) prescription medicines that are FDA-approved for use with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. SGLT2 inhibitors, which are also called gliflozins, are a class of drugs that lower your blood sugar levels by preventing your kidneys from reabsorbing sugar that is created by your body and the extra sugar leaves through in your urine.

Types

Originally, SGLT2 inhibitors were developed as oral antidiabetic (blood sugar lowering) drugs. Later clinical trial data showed significant improvement in kidney function in people with diabetes who already had diabetic nephropathy.

Medicines in the SGLT2 inhibitor class include Invokana® (canagliflozin), Forxiga® (dapagliflozin), Jardiance® (empagliflozin), and Steglagtro® (ertugliflozin).

Dosing & Administration

Available SGLT2 inhibitors work in relatively the same way. Currently, all SGLT2 inhibitors are taken orally (by mouth and some of them are also available in extended release formulas.

Benefits

SGLT2 inhibitors are effective at slowing the progression of kidney disease, reducing heart failure, and lowering the risk of kidney failure and death in people with kidney disease and type 2 diabetes. SGLT2 inhibitors also protect the kidneys of people with CKD who do not have diabetes.

Studies have shown that some medications in this drug class may also reduce the risk for heart disease in people with a history of heart disease.3 They have also been shown to reduce the need for hospitalization for heart failure.

Risks

Side Effects

Mild side effects have been reported in people using SGLT2 inhibitors, which may include:

  • urinating a lot, including at night
  • increased thirst

Some side effects can be serious. If you experience any of these symptoms, call your doctor immediately:

  • frequent, urgent, burning, or painful urination
  • urine that is cloudy, red, pink, or brown
  • pelvic or back pain
  • vaginal odor, white or yellowish vaginal discharge (may be lumpy or look like cottage cheese), or vaginal itching
  • redness, itching, or swelling of the penis; rash on the penis; foul smelling discharge from the penis; or pain in the skin around the penis
  • feeling tired, weak, or uncomfortable; along with a fever and pain, tenderness, redness, and swelling of the genitals or the area between the genitals and the rectum
  • flu-like symptoms
  • swelling of the legs or feet

SGLT2 inhibitors may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.



Last Reviewed: 01/14/2022
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