Jardiance is a prescription medicine that has been shown to be effective in helping to control your blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes mellitus and it has also been shown to help you lose weight.
Obesity is one of the most common risk factors for type 2 diabetes, so its weight loss potential goes beyond appearances.
Jardiance works by blocking the absorption of glucose in the intestine and can be taken with some other diabetes drugs too.
In this article, we will explain the benefits of Jardiance, its side effects, and its weight loss potential while explaining who needs to avoid taking it too.
What is Jardiance?
Jardiance is a type of diabetes medication that helps to lower blood sugar levels and the active ingredient is a drug called empagliflozin.
It belongs to a class of drugs called sodium-glucose cotransporter inhibitors (SGLT-i), which work by preventing the reabsorption of glucose, also called blood sugar, by the kidneys and is approved for use in adults with type 2 diabetes.
Any excess glucose is then excreted in your urine. Besides lowering your blood glucose levels, Jardiance also reduces your risk of any cardiac events such as a heart attack or heart disease.
The way it reduces your risk is by eliminating fluid in your body by excreting it via your urine which lowers your blood pressure.
Jardiance is meant to be taken once a day, usually in the morning, with or without food, and is prescribed for adults between the ages of 18 and 85.
You may not notice its effects in lowering your blood glucose levels until a few days or up to a week after you start taking it.
What are the side effects of taking Jardiance?
There are numerous different side effects that can occur when you take Jardiance, some of them are very mild while others can be severe and even fatal.
The most common side effects include:
Urinary tract infection (UTI)
A urinary tract infection is a bacterial infection that can occur anywhere in the urinary system including the kidneys, ureters, bladder, and urethra. Symptoms of a UTI include:
- A burning sensation when urinating
- The need to urinate more frequently than usual
- Cloudy or bloody urine
- Strong-smelling urine
- Pain in the lower abdomen, back, or pelvis
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible as a urinary tract infection can lead to more serious problems such as kidney infection if left untreated.
Genital yeast infection
A genital yeast infection, also called candidiasis, is a fungal infection that can occur in both men and women but it is more common for women to have a yeast infection while taking Jardiance.
Symptoms of a yeast infection include:
- Itching or burning in the vagina or vulva
- Redness and swelling of the vulva
- Soreness or tenderness in and around your genitals
- Pain or burning while urinating
- Vaginal discharge that may be thick, white, and cottage cheese
- Vaginal odor
Joint pain is a common side effect that has been reported by 2.4% of patients in clinical studies while taking Jardiance.
It is uncertain if Jardiance is the source of the joint pain as a similar percentage of patients taking the placebo also experienced it.
Consult with your doctor for medical advice if you have joint pain as they can find a treatment option that works best for you.
There are some other more severe side effects that can also occur and these include:
Necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum
In rare cases, genital yeast infections can lead to necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum which is also called Fournier’s gangrene.
The perineum is the skin between your anus and scrotum in men or your anus and vulva in women. The symptoms include:
- Red genitals or perineum
- Swelling or tenderness of your genitals or perineum
If you have these symptoms you need to call 911 or go to your nearest emergency room and seek medical attention immediately.
The treatment for it involves surgery to remove any dead tissue and taking antibiotics.
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, can occur while taking Jardiance.
The most common symptoms of hypotension include dizziness, lightheadedness, and fainting.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible as low blood pressure can lead to more serious problems such as shock.
Jardiance can also cause kidney damage in some cases.
If you have severe kidney damage or chronic kidney disease the most common symptoms include swelling in your legs, decreased urination, fatigue, and confusion.
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to contact your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible.
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) is a serious complication that can occur if you have diabetes.
It happens when there is not enough insulin in your body and your body starts to break down fat for energy which produces acidic substances called ketones which can build up in your blood and cause your blood to be too acidic.
Symptoms of diabetic ketoacidosis include:
- High blood glucose levels
- High levels of ketones in your urine
- Fruity-smelling breath
- Increased thirst
- Frequent urination
- Shortness of breath
Seek medical attention immediately if you have these symptoms as ketoacidosis can be fatal.
High low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels
Jardiance can also cause an increase in LDL cholesterol levels.
LDL cholesterol is the “bad” cholesterol that can build up on the walls of your arteries and cause heart disease.
If you have high LDL cholesterol levels, it is important to contact your doctor or healthcare provider as soon as possible to discuss treatment options.
Allergic reactions can happen when you take most medications and for Jardiance, these reactions can range from mild to severe.
A mild reaction to Jardiance may include a rash, itchiness, and red or flushed skin.
Severe allergic reactions entail swelling under your skin in your feet, face, or hands (angioedema), difficulty breathing, and swelling in your mouth, tongue, or throat.
If you have a severe allergic reaction, you need to call 911 and seek medical attention immediately as it can be fatal.
In extremely rare instances, Jardiance can cause pancreatitis which is inflammation of the pancreas.
You are at an even higher risk of developing pancreatitis while taking Jardiance if you have a history of it. The symptoms of pancreatitis include:
- Upper abdominal pain
- Abdominal pain that radiates to your back or sides
- Rapid heartbeat
If you experience any of these symptoms, it is important to seek medical attention as pancreatitis can also be fatal.
Are there any other benefits to taking Jardiance?
In addition to lowering blood sugar levels, Jardiance has also found an off-label use as a medication for weight loss in adults with type 2 diabetes.
The average weight loss experienced in studies was typically under a 5% reduction in body weight and it is also affected by other lifestyle choices such as diet, exercise, and other medications you may be taking at the time.
Jardiance can also help lower your systolic blood pressure (the top number on your blood pressure reading) which can reduce your risk of any cardiac events such as cardiovascular disease, heart attack, and cardiovascular death, and reduces your chance of hospitalization for heart failure.
Finally, Jardiance was shown in a study of patients with heart disease to help prevent or treat kidney disease.
Can you take Jardiance with other diabetes medications?
Jardiance can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications to help lower blood sugar levels.
If you are taking Jardiance with another diabetes medicine, it is important to follow your healthcare provider’s instructions on how to take both medications.
It is also important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely as Jardiance can cause low blood sugar levels. Examples of other diabetes medications that your doctor may prescribe with Jardiance are as follows:
- Metformin (Glucophage, Glumetza, Riomet, Fortamet)
- Dulaglutide (Trulicity)
- Semaglutide (Ozempic)
There are numerous other diabetic medications that your doctor may prescribe in tandem with Jardiance so please talk to your doctor to confirm the best treatment option for you.
Who needs to avoid taking Jardiance?
Jardiance is not for everyone and you may need to avoid taking Jardiance or speak to your healthcare provider before starting Jardiance as there are certain medical conditions or drug interactions you need to be aware of. You need to avoid taking Jardiance if you:
- Are pregnant or planning to become pregnant or are breastfeeding
- Are taking diuretics
- Take blood pressure medications for high blood pressure
- Take medications that can lower your blood pressure as a side effect such as some antidepressants and muscle relaxers among others
- Take medications that can lower your blood sugar levels
Jardiance is only for you if you have type 2 diabetes and not type 1 diabetes. Before you take Jardiance or any medication, talk to your doctor about any medications you are taking, any allergies you have, your medical history or any medical conditions you have, and if you are pregnant or breastfeeding or plan to be in the future.
Jardiance is a medication used to help lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes but has been shown to help with weight loss too.
It can not only help you lose a small amount of weight but also has other potential benefits such as lowering your blood pressure and helping to prevent or treat kidney disease.
The side effects of Jardiance are typically mild; however, severe side effects can occur and even be fatal in some instances.
Jardiance can be taken alone or with other diabetes medications as prescribed by your healthcare provider. If you have any other questions regarding Jardiance, please speak to your doctor, pharmacist, or healthcare provider to determine the best diabetes treatment plan.
References and sources:
The New England Journal of Medicine
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