The FDA has approved a new diabetes medication called Farxiga (Dapagliflozin). It lowers blood sugar, which is certainly beneficial for type 2 diabetes.
Farxiga comes in the form of a tablet. It is classified as a sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor which blocks the reabsorption of glucose by the kidney. This causes an increase in the excretion of glucose in the urine so lowers the level of glucose in the blood.
Farxiga is to be taken once a day. It should be combined with healthy diet and exercise which help to improve glycemic control for adults with type 2 diabetes.
The starting dose should be 5 mg once a day, in the morning with or without food. If a patient proves able to tolerate the drug, and needs more glycemic control, the dose can go up to 10 mg once a day.
Its most common side effects are genital fungal infections and urinary tract infections. More serious possible side effects are increased renal damage, even renal failure in patients who already have moderate to severe kidney damage. Many diabetes already have compromised renal function.
Farxiga has been linked with hypotension. This is especially true for older patients, or those with impaired kidney function, and those on diuretics.
The drug is not recommended for patients with type 1 diabetes. It should not be taken by patients with increased ketones in urine or blood. It is contraindicated for those with moderate or severe kidney impairment, end-stage renal disease or patients who are on dialysis.
Those who have active bladder cancer should not take Farxiga. Patients in studies for the FDA were found to be five times more likely to develop bladder cancer than patients taking another diabetes drug.
FDA scientists cautioned that the drug could stimulate bladder cancer in patients who were already at risk.
Patients taking Farxiga were found to be more than twice as likely to get breast cancer as those not taking it. It's uncertain whether there is a direct correlation.
In 2012, the drug was denied approval. The FDA did not think that enough information about benefits and risks had been given.