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People with diabetes could be at risk with SGLT2 inhibitors

When you have a potentially life-threatening illness such as diabetes, the last thing you want is for a medication to upset the delicate balance of your body's internal systems. If there is too much sugar in your blood, you could suffer from hyperglycemia. This could further develop into ketoacidosis.

One of the treatments some patients are given to help with diabetes is an SGLT2 inhibitor. This inhibitor is supposed to help maintain blood sugar levels by causing more of the sugar to be expelled through the urine. Unfortunately, these drugs can have serious side effects and may sometimes lead to ketoacidosis.

What are some common SGLT2 inhibitors?

Some drugs that are SGLT2 inhibitors include:

  • Invokana
  • Farxiga
  • Glyxambi
  • Xigduo XR
  • Sunjardy
  • Jardiance

What are some of the serious side effects of SGLT2 inhibitors?

Every medication has side effects, but when dealing with diabetes, certain side effects could result in life-threatening complications. For example, severe side effects of Invokana include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Yeast infections of the vulva and vagina
  • Frequent urination
  • Low blood sugar

Some other rare but potentially life-threatening side effects include:

  • Diabetic ketoacidosis
  • Sepsis caused by bacteria
  • Giant hives
  • Bacterial infection of the renal pelvis and kidneys
  • Acute kidney failure
  • Kidney disease with reduced kidney function
  • Urosepsis
  • High quantities of magnesium in the blood
  • High amounts of potassium in the blood

What should you do if you believe you're having side effects from an SGLT2 inhibitor?

Since there is a potential for the side effects of these drugs to become life threatening, it's very important for anyone taking them to stay in close contact with their medical providers. These inhibitors have the potential to allow acid to build up in the blood, which can lead to diabetic ketoacidosis and other serious complications.

The complications of diabetic ketoacidosis, even if not fatal, can be life-changing and may require ongoing medical treatment. Other illnesses that can result from taking these medications could also lead to long-term problems and potential death. It's important to seek medical care as soon as any symptoms of rare complications present themselves.

If you're taking an SGLT2 inhibitor, it may help you for some time before you deal with complications. Don't be complacent, because even a medication that works normally can cause symptoms and serious complications months or years after starting use. Don't be afraid to seek medical care if there are any concerns about the way your medication is working.

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