Jardiance is a medication prescribed to those with diabetes, also called diabetes mellitus, and it has been known to cause certain side effects which we will discuss in detail below.
If you are taking Jardiance, it is important to be aware of these potential complications so you can treat them and take precautions if necessary.
In this article, we will explain how Jardiance works, explore the side effects, and answer some frequently asked questions about this medication.
What is Jardiance?
The name Jardiance is the brand name for the drug empagliflozin although currently there are no generic versions of this diabetes treatment.
When you take Jardiance, it lowers your blood glucose level by blocking the reabsorption of glucose in your kidneys and excreting excess glucose via your urine.
Jardiance can be taken instead of other diabetes medications such as metformin, although your doctor may prescribe it with metformin or insulin.
It can be taken with or without food and is typically taken once daily in the morning and works best in reducing your glucose levels when coupled with a healthy diet and exercise. It only works for type 2 diabetes and is not prescribed if you have type 1 diabetes or if you have diabetic ketoacidosis, which is when your blood becomes too acidic due to diabetes.
Taking Jardiance and coupling it with a healthy diet and exercise will also decrease your risk of cardiac events such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and cardiovascular death due to heart failure.
What are the most common side effects of taking Jardiance and how do you treat them?
There are numerous side effects of taking Jardiance; however, many of these unwanted effects also have treatments if they become problematic for you.
The most common side effects of Jardiance are as follows:
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection is a common side effect of Jardiance and can cause symptoms such as painful urination that is described as a burning feeling when you urinate, dark or cloudy urine, the urge to urinate more frequently than usual, and strong-smelling urine.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor as soon as possible so that he or she can prescribe an antibiotic to treat the infection although there are some over-the-counter medications that can help too.
If you experience more severe symptoms such as bloody urine, fever, or back pain, it is important to seek medical attention immediately as these could be signs of a kidney infection that can become very serious if left untreated.
Treatment for a urinary tract infection usually consists of antibiotics and drinking lots of fluids to help flush the infection from your system. To prevent a urinary tract infection you can do the following steps:
- Wipe from front to back when using the restroom to avoid spreading bacteria near your urinary tract that can cause a bacterial infection
- Drink lots of water so you continually flush out your urinary tract
- Urinate before sex and after sex to clear your urinary tract
- Drink unsweetened cranberry juice or eat cranberries with no added sugar as cranberries have been shown to help treat urinary tract infections
Genital yeast infections, in particular vaginal yeast infections, are the other most common side effect when taking Jardiance.
Jardiance can increase the amount of sugar in your urine which can lead to the growth of yeast. Symptoms of a vaginal yeast infection include itching, burning, and redness around the vulva, pain or burning when urinating, vaginal odor, and thick, white discharge that looks like cottage cheese.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to contact your doctor so he or she can prescribe an antifungal medication to treat the infection.
You can also try using over-the-counter antifungal treatments such as Monistat or Lotrimin but it is always best to speak with your doctor first.
There are some things you can do to help prevent yeast infections:
- Wear loose-fitting, breathable clothing, especially underwear, to help prevent moisture build-up that can lead to yeast growth, and wash all underwear in hot water
- Avoid using perfumed soaps, douches, tampons, or other products around your vulva and vagina as they can disrupt the natural balance of good and bad bacteria and remember to change your tampon regularly
- Clean your genitals after sex as sexual activity can also change the pH balance around your vulva and vagina
- Wipe from front to back when using the restroom to prevent the spread of bacteria
- Take probiotics for the healthy bacteria in your gut or eat yogurt, which also contains probiotics
- Do not wear any wet clothing for long, for example, sweaty clothes after you work out or a swimsuit
- Avoid sexual activity with your partner if either of you has a yeast infection as it can be transmitted to one another through sexual activity
What are the mild side effects of taking Jardiance?
Jardiance also can cause some other mild side effects besides vaginal yeast infections and urinary tract infections and these include:
- Frequent urination
- Upper respiratory infection, which includes the common cold, sinus infection, and sore throat
- Excessive thirst
- Weight loss
- Joint pain
If you experience these side effects, they tend to go away if you manage them.
However, if your symptoms persist or become severe, please talk to your doctor or pharmacist for medical advice.
What are the severe side effects of Jardiance?
There are some more serious side effects that have been reported when taking Jardiance and they include:
Hypoglycemia, also called low blood sugar level, can cause symptoms such as dizziness, confusion, headache, sweating, fast heartbeat, and tremors.
It can be treated by eating or drinking something that has sugar in it such as fruit juice, hard candy, honey, or milk.
It is important to carry glucose tablets or gel with you at all times if you are diabetic in case you experience low blood sugar levels.
Ketoacidosis is a serious condition that can occur when your body starts to produce high levels of ketones that make your blood too acidic and blood sugar levels become too low.
Symptoms of ketoacidosis include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, shortness of breath, fruity-smelling breath, and confusion.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to seek medical attention immediately as ketoacidosis can be fatal if not treated promptly.
Jardiance can cause kidney problems and the most common symptom is swelling in your ankles or feet from fluid retention. Other symptoms include decreased urination, fatigue, and shortness of breath.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to talk to your doctor as he or she may need to do some tests to check for kidney damage.
Jardiance can cause low blood pressure, also called hypotension, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness, lightheadedness, fainting, and fatigue.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to sit or lie down and drink plenty of fluids. Avoid driving or operating heavy machinery if you are experiencing these symptoms.
Taking Jardiance can also cause an increase in cholesterol levels, which can lead to heart disease. Symptoms of high cholesterol include chest pain, shortness of breath, and fatigue.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to talk to your doctor as he or she may need to do some tests to check for heart disease.
Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum
Urinary tract infections and yeast infections are not the only genital infections caused by Jardiance.
Necrotizing fasciitis, also called Fournier’s gangrene, of the perineum is a rare but serious genital infection that can occur when you get an infection in the area between your scrotum or vulva and your anus, which is called your perineum.
Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include pain, swelling, redness, a rapid heartbeat, and fever. If you experience any of these symptoms it is important that you go to the hospital right away as you will need antibiotics and possibly surgery to remove any damaged tissue.
To prevent this side effect, wipe from front to back when using the restroom, drink plenty of fluids, wear loose-fitting underwear, and keep your blood sugar in the normal range.
Please remember that if you experience necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum you need to seek medical attention right away.
Dehydration can occur when you take Jardiance due to frequent urination decreasing the content of water in your body and electrolytes and it is important to drink plenty of water to prevent this from happening.
Symptoms of dehydration include thirst, dry mouth, tiredness, dark-colored urine, and dizziness.
If you experience any of these symptoms it is important to drink lots of fluids such as water or juice and if your symptoms are severe you need to seek medical attention as you may need fluids through an IV.
An allergic reaction to Jardiance is rare but it can occur. Symptoms of an allergic reaction include itching, rash, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat, and difficulty breathing.
If you experience a mild form of an allergic reaction such as hives, itching, or a rash, please consult with your doctor who may prescribe an over-the-counter antihistamine and also may tell you to stop taking Jardiance.
If you have a severe reaction and have swelling or difficulty breathing, call 911 or seek medical attention immediately as it can result in death.
Who needs to avoid taking Jardiance?
If you have any of the following medical conditions you need to avoid taking Jardiance.
These conditions include:
- Hypotension, or low blood pressure
- If you are allergic to Jardiance
- Kidney damage or chronic kidney disease
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- Hypoglycemia, or low blood sugar
- High cholesterol
- Recurring yeast infection
- Recurring urinary tract infection
If you are pregnant it is not recommended to take Jardiance in the second or third trimesters.
It is also not recommended to take Jardiance if you are breastfeeding as Jardiance was shown in studies to be present in breast milk.
Alcohol needs to be consumed in moderation when taking Jardiance as you run the risk of dehydration because you urinate even more frequently, and can help promote diabetic ketoacidosis.
What are some frequently asked questions about Jardiance?
Despite all of this information, Jardiance is still a relatively new medication and there are bound to be more questions. Here are some frequently asked questions about Jardiance:
Does Jardiance cause any eye problems?
No, Jardiance has not been shown to cause any eye problems.
However, when you have high blood glucose levels due to diabetes you may experience blurry vision and it is also a side effect of taking insulin. Please note that this is not due to taking Jardiance. You also need to visit your eye doctor yearly for eye checkups if you have diabetes.
If you do experience blurred vision or eye problems, please talk to your doctor right away.
Will Jardiance affect my ability to drive or operate machinery?
No, Jardiance will not affect your ability to drive or operate machinery.
Can Jardiance cause itching or a rash?
In clinical trials, Jardiance was not shown to cause itching or a rash.
Can Jardiance cause anxiety?
There have been no reports of Jardiance causing anxiety.
It is possible to have anxiety while taking Jardiance but it is not the cause of it and symptoms of hypoglycemia may also resemble the symptoms of anxiety.
If you experience anxiety while taking Jardiance, please consult with your doctor as there may be underlying reasons for it.
Is the side effect of weight loss beneficial for my diabetes?
Some people in the clinical trials experienced some unexplained weight loss although more research is needed to prove Jardiance is effective as a weight loss drug.
Weight loss is great if you have type 2 diabetes and are obese.
However, if you are not obese and very thin it can be detrimental to your health. It is always beneficial to maintain a healthy weight.
Is abdominal pain a side effect of Jardiance?
No, abdominal pain is not a side effect of Jardiance and was not experienced by any patients in the clinical trials.
Stomach pain is a symptom of ketoacidosis though and if you have any of its symptoms which are listed above, call 911 or go seek medical attention immediately as it can be fatal.
Jardiance is a medication for type 2 diabetes that helps to lower blood sugar levels by excreting excess glucose out via your urine and not allowing it to be reabsorbed into your bloodstream.
It can cause some side effects such as low blood pressure, difficulty breathing, and allergic reactions among many others.
If you experience certain severe side effects such as diabetic ketoacidosis or an allergic reaction that causes swelling or difficulty breathing then you need to seek medical attention immediately.
Other mild side effects either go away on their own or can be managed with some treatments which we detailed above.
If you have any questions about Jardiance or its side effects, please talk to your doctor, health care provider, or pharmacist.
References and sources:
Advances in Nutrition
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