Common Side Effects of Jardiance
Dr. Angel Rivera
Every year, an increasing number of people both worldwide and in the United States are diagnosed with diabetes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), almost half the population of the U.S. either has diabetes or has pre-diabetes, a condition that predisposes an individual to the development of diabetes. Diabetes is a medical condition in which the body cannot process sugar from food intake and as a result high blood sugar levels accumulate. Almost a hundred years ago, diabetes was often a fatal disease since proper treatment methods were not available. Today, due in part to the existence of synthetic insulin, diabetes is a manageable condition that can be kept under control. Regular monitoring of blood sugar levels during an annual physical with your doctor can help you detect whether you at risk for developing diabetes. While genetic factors play a major role in the development of this disease, other factors like diet and exercise habits also play a big role in whether an individual develops diabetes.
While type 2 diabetes is more common in adults over the age of 45, younger adults can also develop the condition. According to the CDC, normal fasting blood sugar is under 99 mg/dL and fasting diabetic blood sugar level is higher than 126 mg/dL. Pre-diabetes is characterized by a blood sugar level between 100-125 mg/dL. Being aware of whether you are at increased risk for diabetes can help you adjust your lifestyle accordingly, or seek prompt treatment if needed.
Some of the adverse health effects that diabetes can cause if left untreated include:
- Heart attack
- Nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy)
- Retinal damage (diabetic retinopathy)
- Kidney damage (diabetic nephropathy)
Jardiance, or commonly known as empagliflozin, is a prescription drug used to maintain blood sugar at a normal level in patients with type 2 diabetes. The medication is most often prescribed along with exercise and diet to reduce the risk of an adverse cardiovascular event from occurring. It can be used as a standalone prescription drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but it is also commonly prescribed in combination with metformin, insulin or sulfonylureas. Currently, there are no generic version of the medication available and the only tablet available on the market is made by Boehringer Ingelheim through a joint venture with Eli Lilly and Company.
Jardiance works by preventing the reabsorption of glucose back into the bloodstream by the kidneys. It does this by inhibiting special transporters on the renal tubules of the kidneys, called the sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGL-2). By inhibiting these transporters, the excess glucose in the blood is excreted through urine instead of being released back into the blood. SGL-2 inhibitors can decrease the risk of cardiovascular death in patients with diabetes by 38 percent. Jardiance is a second line therapy for diabetes treatment.
How to take Jardiance
Jardiance must be taken exactly as prescribed for you by your doctor. The medication is available as tablets in either 10 mg or 25 mg doses. The medication should be taken daily in the morning with or without food.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it almost time for the next dose, skip the missed dose and take the next dose according to schedule.
Depending on whether you are taking Jardiance with any other medications that lower blood sugar, such as metformin, or synthetic insulin, the dosage and how you take the drug will be adjusted.
When taking Jardiance, it is important to let your doctor know if you have any of the following conditions:
- Liver or kidney disease
- Bladder infections or other urination problems
- Low blood pressure
- Heart problems
- Problems with your pancreas, including surgery
- Drink alcohol often
- Low salt diet.
Common side effects of Jardiance
When starting any new medication, it is important to be aware of the side effects that may occur. Some side effects may be commonly experienced and are not usually a cause for medical concern. However, in some cases more severe side effects may occur that are usually rare in occurrence. If such side effects are experienced, it is important to contact your doctor immediately or get emergency medical help.
Jardiance does not usually cause hypoglycemia on its own (low sugar), but it can occur when taken in combination with other diabetic medications like insulin or sulfonylurea. Symptoms of hypoglycemia include hunger, sweating, dizziness, nausea, fast heart rate and feeling anxious or shaky. If you experience hypoglycemia, it is important to quickly remedy it with a fast-acting source of glucose like candy or fruit juice.
Jardiance can also cause dehydration symptoms that include dizziness, feeling faint and weak. Passing little or no urine is also a possible side effect of this medication. These symptoms should be reported to your doctor immediately if they occur.
The most common side effect of Jardiance is a urinary tract infection. Additional common side effects include fungal infections of the genital area and include vulvovaginal candidiasis, cervicitis, genital candidiasis, genitourinary infection, vaginal infection, vulvitis, and vulvovaginitis.
Other common side effects that should be reported to your doctor if you experience them include:
- Bladder pain
- Bloody or cloudy urine
- Change in the color, amount, or odor of vaginal discharge
- Difficult, burning, or painful urination
- Frequent urge to urinate
- Itching, stinging, or redness of the vaginal area
- Lower back pain or side pain
- Pain during sexual intercourse
Less common side effects that have been reported by patients taking Jardiance include:
- Penis discharge that has a strong odor
- Redness, itching, swelling, or pain around the penis
- Pale, dilute urine that is increased in volume
- Urge to urinate at night
Rare side effects include:
- Blurred vision
- Cold sweats
- Decreased urination
- Dizziness, feeling faint or lightheaded when getting up from a lying down position
- Fast heartbeat
- Increased feeling of hunger
- Rapid breathing
- Slurred speech
- Unusual tiredness or weakness
Other reported side effects also include:
- Dry mouth
- Flushed, dry skin
- Fruit-like breath odor
- Increased feeling of thirst
- Large, hive-like swelling on the face, eyelids, lips, tongue, throat, hands, legs, feet, or sex organs
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of consciousness
- Stomach pain
- Trouble breathing
- Unexplained weight loss
- Weight gain
Some side effects that do not usually require immediate medical attention may occur. These side effects usually go away on their own as your body adjusts to the medication and are less common. They include:
- Body aches or pain
- Loss of voice
- Muscle pain or stiffness
- Nasal congestion
If these side effects persist, talk to your doctor about how to reduce them.
This is not an exhaustive list of side effects that may occur with taking Jardiance. If you experience any other symptoms that are not listed here, be sure to contact your doctor. More information can be found here.
Who should not take Jardiance
- Jardiance should not be taken by for the treatment of type 1 diabetes. The medication can cause an extremely dangerous condition called diabetic ketoacidosis in patients with type 1 diabetes. Normally, diabetic ketoacidosis is associated with abnormally high blood sugar levels. However, in patients that take SGL-2 inhibitors like Jardiance, diabetic ketoacidosis can occur even with normal blood glucose levels making it difficult to detect.
- Jardiance should not be taken by patients with a history of chronic or severe kidney disease. Patients that are currently on dialysis should not take Jardiance.
- People with an allergy to Jardiance, or have ever experienced an allergy to Jardiance should not take the medication.
- Jardiance should not be used by pregnant patients in their second and third trimester of pregnancy. Blood sugar control is very important during pregnancy, so discuss how to treat the condition with your doctor if you are pregnant or planning on becoming pregnant.
- Breastfeeding must not be done while taking Jardiance.
- Fournier’s grangene, a rare but serious infection of the groin, has also been reported to occur in patients taking SGL-2 inhibitors. Urgent medical attention is required for this condition.
Drug interactions of Jardiance
Certain drugs may interact with Jardiance. You should inform your doctor or pharmacist of any medications that you are already taking. If you take any other medications for diabetes, like insulin, or a ‘diuretic’ medication, tell your doctor. People taking diuretics are at increased risk for low blood pressure when it is combined with Jardiance. This is not an exhaustive list of drug interactions.
How to buy Jardiance
A valid prescription is required to purchase Jardiance. This medication is one of the more expensive drugs used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. There are ways in which you can get savings on the cost of Jardiance such as drug discount coupons available through USA Rx or a prescription drug discount card, also available through USA Rx. Boehringer Ingelheim, the manufacturer of Jardiance, also offers patient assistance programs for eligible individuals. Whichever method you choose to get extra savings, be sure to take Jardiance regularly and combine it with other factors in your treatment regimen like dietary changes and exercise to get the most benefit from taking the medication.