What is Dapagliflozin, and how is it used? This guide will tell you everything about this medication and how it should be used by different people. Make sure to read the full guide to be completely aware of all uses and side effects.
What Is Dapagliflozin (Forxiga)
Dapagliflozin, which is also sold under the Forxiga brand name, is a medicine used to treat type 2 diabetes and, in some cases, type 1 diabetes. Dapagliflozin contains the active substance, which is a part of a medicine group called sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. When a patient takes this medicine, it blocks the SGLT2 protein from the kidney. This protein is responsible for 90% of glucose reabsorption. Blockage of this protein is done in order to remove the blood sugar, also called glucose, as well as salt, that’s also called sodium, from your body.
Forxiga is also used to improve glycemic control. One of the other uses of this drug is to reduce the risk of heart failure hospitalization. However, some studies have shown that there is no benefit for heart health or overall risk of hospitalization provided by Dapagliflozin. It is used as both monotherapy and additional treatment for heart failure and diabetes type 1 and type 2.
If it is used with diet and moderate exercise, the effect is increased. Patients who want to get healthier and experience positive changes have to go through constant checkups and visit their doctor at least once every 1-2 weeks.
Dapagliflozin also has effects that influence overall health if taken during a long period of time. People who suffer from heart failure, diabetes type 2, might develop serious complications that will result in extremely negative effects and conditions, including stroke, heart disease, eyesight problems, nerve damage, kidney problems, as well as many other issues. If a patient takes Dapagliflozin to treat their condition as well as keeps a diet, exercises and quits smoking, the overall health will be improved. To prevent serious issues, it is also important to make sure that blood sugar levels are always normal. To do that, the patient has to check the blood sugar levels on a regular basis.
The described therapy can decrease many risks for your health, so there will be lower chances for you of having a heart attack, stroke, as well as complications that are diabetes-related and can cause nerve damage or kidney failure.
Before taking Forxiga medication, you should consult your doctor and pharmacist and discuss possible side effects and allergies. You should also warn your doctor about the previous surgeries, dialysis, as well as kidney diseases. Tell your doctor if you drink alcohol regularly or smoke.
If you still don’t understand what this medicine is and need some advice on why it is taken and how you should take it, ask your doctor. Don’t hesitate to ask any questions when it comes to taking the medicine and any side effects.
What Is Forxiga Used for
This medication is often prescribed in order to lower blood sugar levels and treat such conditions as heart failure and type 2 diabetes. Forxiga was approved by The National Institute of Clinical Excellence to be used as a dual treatment for the described conditions.
When talking to a doctor, you should determine what Forxiga is used for and clearly understand why this medication has been prescribed in your case. It is most commonly taken by patients who are 18 and older and suffer either from heart failure or type 2 diabetes but can also be used by people who don’t tolerate metformin.
Forxiga can be used as an additional drug to support the effects of such medicines as insulin. If combined with exercise and a well-balanced diet, treatment of diabetes type 2 will be more successful.
Treat Type 2 Diabetes
Forxiga is used as both monotherapy and add-on therapy to treat type 2 diabetes. It can also be taken without medicine used to treat diabetes. It is most commonly taken by patients who cannot take metformin and need to substitute this medicine with an alternative. It is very rarely subscribed to patients who suffer from type 1 diabetes.
Treat Heart Failure
Forxiga medication uses also include treating heart failure as well as preventing such a condition from happening. Forxiga appears to be the first sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor that’s capable of preventing cardiovascular disease and death from happening. It can also affect overall health and kidneys’ condition. Scientists keep finding links between heart, pancreas, and kidneys, and Dapagliflozin.
In August of the 2020, it’s been found that Dapagliflozin is effective medicine for improving the patient’s condition and decreasing the effects of heart failure. As a result, it is now one of the most common medicines that are used to treat this condition.
Dapagliflozin comes in the form of film-coated tablets. The recommended dose is 10 mg per day. The medicine is usually taken once per day. There is no specific time of the day when the drug is supposed to be taken, so patients are free to choose the time that works best for them.
Dapagliflozin dose depends on the patient’s age as well as their condition. Different diseases and conditions are treated differently. Here is what the dose should look like.
You should take this active substance while taking other drugs with caution. Some medicines can increase the side effects of Forxiga tablets (Dapagliflozin). You should warn your doctor about these medicines before taking Dapagliflozin:
- Diuretics (medicine that makes you drink more).
- Medicine that can lower your blood pressure, such as antidepressants, baclofen, levodopa, as well as many others.
- High blood pressure medicine.
- Insulin and/or sulphonylureas.
To improve glycemic control: one should take 5 mg of medication daily. The maximum dosage, in this case, is 10 mg.
To reduce the risk of hospitalization due to heart failure: 10 mg per day.
To treat heart failure with reduced ejection fraction: 10 mg per day.
In the case of other diseases, one should contact a doctor to determine the right amount of medication.
For Children and Adolescents
It is not known whether there is a safe dosage for children and teens. Therefore, it is better to avoid intake of the medicine and contact the doctor regarding its usage instead. Keep the medicine away from children.
For Pregnant Women
This active substance isn’t recommended for intake for pregnant women. Please consult a doctor to determine whether this kind of medicine can be taken during pregnancy or not.
Dapagliflozin might cause harm to an unborn baby, so it is better to avoid taking this medicine in order to make sure that the baby is healthy. Consult your doctor if you are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding to discuss the necessary alternatives.
Side Effects of Dapagliflozin
There are many Dapagliflozin side effects, and all of them depend on the dosage, age, previous conditions, and current state of a patient. The most common side effects of Dapagliflozin are:
Hypoglycemia is a condition that causes a decreased blood sugar level in your organism. It is often associated with diabetes type 2; however, this condition sometimes occurs in other cases. Since insulin is not required when taking Dapagliflozin, the medication rarely causes hypoglycemia. However, it is one of the side effects of the mentioned medication, even though it is one of the rarest.
Some warning signs of low blood sugar levels are: trembling, confusion, feeling hungry, sweating. There might be other symptoms as well. In order to avoid severe consequences, you should immediately contact your doctor.
Thrush, or yeast infections, are one of the most common side effects of this drug. Genital thrush might be caused by the medicine since genitals are exposed to more sugar than normal. The Dapagliflozin medication drug class is called sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, and drugs from this class are known for causing vaginal itching, vaginal odor, vaginal discharge, a rash on the penis, swelling and redness on the penis, as well as different types of genital infections.
Urinary Tract Infections
Forxiga might cause urinary tract infections as well. This side effect is very common, and if a patient notices any symptoms, they should contact their doctor or hospital right away since the consequences of urinary tract infections might be very serious. The most common infections are urosepsis and pyelonephritis. The intake of Forxiga should be controlled in order to avoid such kinds of infections, along with many others. If UTIs aren’t treated, the patient might develop bladder cancer.
Changes in Levels of Blood Fats
Intake of Forxiga might result in changes in the amount of cholesterol or fats in your blood. This is why it is important to have regular checkups and make sure that the levels of cholesterol, fats, and other important elements haven’t changed much.
Lowering of Blood Pressure
In some cases, Forxiga itself or when combined with other medications can result in decreased blood levels. Low blood levels might cause kidney damage. Such medication as Benazepril, when combined with Dapagliflozin, might cause low blood levels. Visit the doctor regularly to make sure your blood levels are normal.
Low blood sugar levels might be caused by different factors. These include:
- overdose of diabetic medicine (including Forxiga);
- overeating or undereating;
- unhealthy diet;
- not eating enough nutrients your body needs;
- drinking alcohol and smoking;
- hormonal disorders;
- intake of alternative medicine or herbal medicine during your Dapagliflozin therapy;
- changes in food habits;
- increased physical activity;
- kidney or liver problems (or diseases).
One of the best ways to avoid the risks of lowering blood sugar levels is to maintain a healthy diet, count the consumed calories (if needed), and avoid skipping meals. This is why the patient should create a schedule for all meals and make sure they stick to it. For those who plan on exercising more often than usual, it is recommended to first contact a doctor to discuss it and then make sure they consume enough carbohydrates.
It is best to always bring some snacks with you that contain a fast-acting carbohydrate. This is important to prevent low blood levels from happening. If you feel any symptoms, eat one of these snacks immediately.
If the symptoms don’t go away, and if you start feeling dizzy, confused, and it is hard for you to concentrate, contact your doctor and go to the hospital.
Among common side effects, there is another one called diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA). People who suffer from diabetes type 1 and are taking Forxiga are at risk of getting DKA. Forxiga substance medicine should be taken with caution in order to avoid any severe side effects. To make sure that it’s taken properly and doesn’t trigger any serious side effects, you should monitor blood sugar and ketone levels and visit your doctor from time to time to ensure that the medicine is working the right way.
Another common side effect is an allergic reaction. You should call your hospital if you are experiencing any kind of symptoms.
Here is a chart that will help you deal with the side effects of Forxiga. Remember that you should still contact your doctor, even if the symptoms aren’t severe:
|Peeing more than usual||It is not always a bad side effect, but if it bothers you, it is better to talk to your doctor.|
|Thrush||Tell your doctor about the symptoms and start treatment.|
|Skin rash||Use antihistamine or another medicine. Speak with your doctor if it doesn’t go away.|
|Dizziness||Get some rest and don’t drive.|
|Back pain||Contact your doctor right away.|
Here are the results of a placebo-controlled study of Forxiga.
Forxiga Table 2. Results at week 24 (LOCFa) of a placebo controlled study of Forxiga as monotherapy
|HbA1c (%) Baseline(mean)||8.01||7.79|
|Change from baseline°||-0.89||-0.23|
|Difference from placebo°||-0.66*|
|(95% Cl)||(-0.96, -0.36)|
|Subjects (%) achieving: HbA1c <7%
Adjusted for baseline
|Body weight (kg)
|Change from baseline°||-3.16||-2.19|
|Difference from placebo°||-0.97|
|(95% Cl)||(-2.20, 0.25)|
a LOCF: last observation (prior to rescue for rescued subjects) carried forward. b All randomised subjects who took at least one dose of double blind study medication during the short-term double blind period. c Least squares mean adjusted for baseline value.
* p-Value <0.0001 versus placebo.
§ Not evaluated for statistical significance as a result of the sequential testing procedure for secondary end points.
Other Features Forxiga for Diabetes
Forxiga works mostly on your kidneys. It is supposed to increase the amount of sugar that will be removed from your body together with your pee. When a patient urinates, sugar should be removed due to the Forxiga’s effect. Dapagliflozin is proven to influence blood levels and lower them, so when taking this medicine, you should make sure that your diet will help you keep your blood levels normal.
What to Do if You Overdosed
If you take too much Dapagliflozin, you should contact your doctor right away and, if necessary, go to the hospital. An overdose might cause low levels of blood sugar, which might worsen your condition.
There are a few things you can do on your own before going to the hospital. First of all, get something to eat or drink that contains sugar. It can be juice and even sugar cubes. You can also consume a sandwich or some cookies.
In any case of overdose, you should talk to your doctor immediately. There might be some negative consequences due to overdose, so you should not wait.
Warnings and Storage
Dapagliflozin can be taken only by adults. This medicine should not be given to children. Before starting the therapy, contact a doctor first.
Who can’t take Dapagliflozin:
- Patients who previously had allergic reactions to Forxiga coated tablets or any other drug that has similar components.
- Patients whose pee contains glucose and ketones. To determine whether the pee contains these chemicals or not, a patient should take a test first.
- Patients who have kidney or liver diseases. Dapagliflozin is capable of influencing liver function, and the consequences from misuse might be very severe.
- Patients who suffer from a heart condition.
- Elderly people. Patients who are older than 65 are at greater risk of suffering from side effects due to the intake of the mentioned substance.
- Patients who recently have had surgery.
- Patients who suffer from urinary infections.
- Patients who suffer from galactose intolerance (the tablets contain lactose).
- Patients who are pregnant, trying to get pregnant, or breastfeeding.
Forxiga for diabetes should be taken with care. Remember to talk to your doctor and warn them about any allergies prior to taking Dapagliflozin. Keep in mind that long term therapy might have some consequences, and before combining the medicine with other drugs, including insulin, you should first discuss it with a doctor. To achieve maximum effectiveness, it is important to take all factors into account.
Even if a medicine you take isn’t mentioned on the list, you should still warn your doctor about them. This substance should be taken cautiously to avoid any negative consequences and side effects. Don’t hesitate to ask your doctor such questions as, “What is Forxiga used for, and how do I take it?” Don’t take the medicine without a doctor’s prescription.