Jardiance for Diabetes: What is it, How Does it Work, Benefits, and Side Effects

Apr 25, 2023
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Jardiance is a prescription medication used for treating type 2 diabetes. Jardiance is also known by its generic name, empagliflozin. It is usually taken once a day as an oral tablet. It can be used alone or in combination with other diabetes medications, such as metformin or insulin.

How does Jardiance work? 

Jardiance belongs to a class of medications known as sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. SGLT2 inhibitors work by stopping glucose from being reabsorbed back into the body by the kidneys. When this happens, the extra glucose is removed from the body in urine. This helps to lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes.

Why is this important? Excessive blood sugar is what causes most diabetes symptoms, such as:

  • Thirst
  • Needing to urinate frequently
  • Tiredness
  • Blurry vision

Over years, too much blood sugar also leads to complications, like:

  • Kidney problems
  • Vision problems
  • Increased risk of heart disease or stroke
  • Nerve problems, such as numbness or nerve pain

By lowering blood sugar, Jardiance and other diabete treatments get at the root of the problem to reduce symptoms and prevent complications.

Why did my doctor recommend Jardiance for me?

There are a number of treatment options for type 2 diabetes. How do you know which ones are right for you? Two very common reasons for your doctor to recommend a medication like Jardiance are:

  • You are already taking metformin or other diabetes medications but need more treatment to get your blood sugar lower
  • You have a history of heart disease, heart failure, or chronic kidney disease

Jardiance and other SGLT2 inhibitors are unique in that they reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke, in addition to lowering blood sugar. This is particularly helpful for people with diabetes who also have a history of heart conditions. In a meta-analysis study, SGLT2 inhibitors also help prevent heart failure and progression of kidney disease.

As always, your doctor takes into account your health status, your diabetes history, and your other medications to recommend an individualized treatment for you. It is important to note that Jardiance should not be used by people with type 1 diabetes or by those who have severe kidney disease.

What are the side effects of Jardiance?

Like all medications, Jardiance can cause side effects. The most common side effects include:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Genital infections
  • Yeast infections
  • Low blood pressure

Jardiance works by helping extra glucose pass through urine, which means the extra sugar can promote bacteria growth in the urinary or genital tracts. You can tell you have an infection if you have pain when urinating, there’s an unusual colour or smell, you notice unusual discharges, or you have a fever. See your healthcare provider if you notice these symptoms, so they can provide you the right treatment.

When you pass extra glucose through urine, it also pulls along water molecules. This can make it easier for you to become dehydrated or have low blood pressure. To prevent serious dehydration, check with your doctor or pharmacist about what you should do if you have vomiting, diarrhea, or cannot stay hydrated as usual. Generally, it is a good idea to stop taking Jardiance for a few days until you are feeling back to normal. Your doctor may recommend for you to test your blood sugar frequently while off Jardiance to make sure your blood sugar isn’t getting too high.

In conclusion, Jardiance is a useful medication for people with type 2 diabetes. In addition to lowering blood sugar, it also helps reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and worsening of kidney disease. As always, the best way to understand the specific risks and benefits of this medication for your situation is to speak with a healthcare provider.

1Diabetes Canada Clinical Practice Guidelines Expert Committee. Diabetes Canada 2018 Clinical Practice Guidelines for the Prevention and Management of Diabetes in Canada. Can J Diabetes. 2018;42(Suppl 1):S1-S325

2Zinman B, Wanner C, Lachin JM, Fitchett D, Bluhmki E, Hantel S, Mattheus M, Devins T, Johansen OE, Woerle HJ, Broedl UC, Inzucchi SE; EMPA-REG OUTCOME Investigators. Empagliflozin, Cardiovascular Outcomes, and Mortality in Type 2 Diabetes. N Engl J Med. 2015 Nov 26;373(22):2117-28. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa1504720. Epub 2015 Sep 17. PMID: 26378978.

3ZelnikerTA,WiviottSD,RazI,etal.SGLT2 inhibitors for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular and renal outcomes in type 2 diabetes: A systematic review and meta-analysis of cardiovascular outcome trials. The Lancet 2019;393:31e9.

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