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Drug Facts: SGLT2 Inhibitors

Updated: Mar 13, 2023

SGLT2 Inhibitors are one of the new guys in town in terms of diabetes drugs. The FDA approved the first SGLT2 inhibitor to be sold in the US in 2013.

These drugs work by decreasing the reabsorption of sugar back into the blood and increasing urinary glucose excretion. In layman’s terms, they help you pee out sugar. The benefits of this is two-fold. First, when sugar is being excreted out of the bloodstream, this will decrease blood sugar levels. In addition this may aid in weight loss, as the sugars that the body is disposing of contains calories, which the body will now not absorb.

Since they work similar to a diuretic they can also help lower blood pressure. Multiple drugs in the class have been shown to decrease the risk of heart attack and stoke as well as decreasing the risk hospitalization for people with heart failure.

Multiple drugs in the class also decrease the progression of kidney disease - so much so, that Farxiga can be used to treat chronic kidney disease even in people without diabetes!

Because these drugs cause you to urinate sugar out, side effects may include yeast infections and frequent urination. You’ll need to drink plenty of water if you’re on any of these drugs.

SGLT2 inhibitors start working with the first dose and will have full benefit after about a week.

In summary, these drugs have lots of unique benefits including decreasing blood sugars, not causing hypoglycemia (unless used with other drugs that increase this risk), and helping with weight loss. Some of them also have heart and kidney benefits. Unfortunately, if you’re prone to yeast infections these are probably not the drugs for you.


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