Drug Facts: SGLT2 Inhibitors

Updated: Jan 9, 2021

SGLT2 Inhibitors are 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. Drugs in this class include Canagliflozin (Invokana), Dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and Empagliflozin (Jardiance).

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. This drug class is one of the few that has been proven to have cardiovascular benefits.

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 decrease blood sugars, don’t increase the risk of hypoglycemia, cause weight loss, decrease blood pressure and start working quickly. That sounds like a win to me! Unfortunately, if you’re prone to yeast infections these are probably not the drugs for you.