Over the course of 2015, several new options for diabetes treatment have emerged from the drug market. Although these newer medications are more specific to individuals who suffer from pre-diabetes or type 2 diabetes, they still represent a significant breakthrough for patients. One of the major reasons for this is that the action of the drugs can aid in allowing the body to slowly regain balance on its own, which also lets beta cells in the pancreas increase production without generating greater damage to the organ.
Other outcomes from these new treatment options for diabetes in 2015 are that weight loss, higher activity levels, and better nutritional habits also lead adopting a healthier lifestyle through the use of the medication. For many patients with type 2 or pre-diabetes, this also means that less cumbersome routines for health maintenance are required.
Understanding Sodium Glucose Transporter 2 (SGLT2 inhibitors)
The following list of medications with their benefits and side effects are all from the same class of drug which is an SGLT2 inhibitor. These are oral medications that have an impact on lowering blood sugar and treating diabetes through causing the kidneys to expel the excess sugar rather than to absorb it. The drugs complete this action by interrupting the process by which sugar is put back into the bloodstream, specifically through the inhibition a specific cellular metabolism.
While the overall benefits include a reduction in blood sugar, a better ability for the body to rebalance, and associated weight loss, the entire class of drugs also has some general side effects.
Since these drugs do cause more glucose to be excreted in the urine, there is a higher chance of getting genital and urinary tract infections. These side effects are more common in women than in men, but can also be exacerbated by existing conditions such as thrush or candidiasis.
People who are taking SGLT2 inhibitors with insulin should also be aware of the risks of hypoglycemia, since low blood sugar and higher insulin can be equally damaging.
Long term side effects for this class of drugs are really not fully known, although the different variations in this class do show different impacts. Clinical trials into dapagliflozin showed an in incidence of liver damage and breast and bladder cancers amongst those taking the drug but there is still insufficient evidence to show a full correlation. Clinical trials into canagliflozin showed increases in both LDL and HDL cholesterol, although this does indicate a direct correlation.
List Of Medications With Benefits And Side Effects
This medication is also known by the trade name of Invokana, and is an oral medication for type 2 diabetes that helps to lower blood glucose levels by encouraging the body to filter out more glucose from the blood and excrete it via the urine. One of the greater benefits of the drug is that it helps patients to reduce blood sugars without increasing the likelihood of gaining weight as long as a healthy, balanced diet is followed and regular exercise taken. In this way it helps to encourage wellness habits and healing, instead of simply taking the medication as a means of treating symptoms alone. This aspect, and the ease of taking an oral pill are two major attractions.
Although the medication is fairly new, some side effects are known to be associated. These include:
- Hypoglycemia – if taken with sulfonylurea medication or insulin
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Genital thrush
- Increased likelihood of urinary tract infections
- Increased need to urinate
- Increases in LDL cholesterol
- Decrease in kidney function
Further studies show that long term use may lead to kidney disease, although these are also not fully proven yet.
This medication is also known as Farxiga and operates in the same manner as other SGLT2 inhibitors in that the main action for lowering blood sugar is through reducing re-absorption into the body. While the benefits of lowered blood sugar are also present for this drug, there is an added ease of dosing with the twice a day oral pill. Further, although caution is advised with children and elder populations, this drug can be used in these populations, which is another benefit to the medication. Farxiga may also be combined with other medications for diabetes and lowering the blood sugar, especially if prior methods of treatment have shown little result. This makes the drug fairly versatile in action, especially as it seems to have a more pronounced effect on the expulsion of sugars, and it is also generally well tolerated.
Side effects for this drug will still be similar to other SGLT2 inhibitors, but other conditions can also result:
- Runny nose
- Respiratory infection
- Bladder pain
- Back pain
As with other new treatment options, the full impact of long term usage is not fully known. However, clinical trials have indicated that a linkage to bladder cancer and kidney disease could be a possibility with use over time.
This medication is also in the class of SGLT2 inhibitors and goes by the trade name of Jardiance. One immediate benefit that many people feel regarding this drug is that it only requires a once a day oral dosage, which can greatly improve normalcy in lifestyle routines. Although the mechanism of excretion of sugar through the urine is the same as for the other new medications, Jardiance can also help in lowering HbA1C levels, and this can reduce many diabetes related complications. Healthy lifestyle changes are also encouraged with the use of this medication, but better HbA1C levels is a definite plus for Jardiance.
Side effects for this drug are also similar to many for the other SGLT2 inhibitors, including bladder pain and infection. However, Jardiance can also cause:
- Itching of the genitals
- Painful intercourse
- Cold sweats
- Odorous genital discharge
The long term effects for Jardiance are also not accurately know, although clinical trials have reported kidney damage, and diabetic ketoacidosis.