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What is Jardiance used for and how does it work?

Medically reviewed by Leigh Ann Anderson, PharmD Last updated on May 19, 2020.

Official Answer

by Drugs.com

Key Points

  • Jardiance (empagliflozin) is used to help control glucose (blood sugar) in adult patients with type 2 diabetes. Jardiance is a tablet used in addition to diet and exercise, and is taken by mouth once-a-day with or without food.
  • Jardiance is also approved by the FDA to lower the risk of cardiovascular (heart-related) death in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
  • Jardiance is in a class of drugs known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, often abbreviated as SGLT-2 inhibitors. SGLT-2 inhibitors block kidney proteins that help to reabsorb glucose (sugar) back into your blood and increase glucose excretion through the urine. 

Jardiance (empagliflozin) is used in addition to diet and exercise to help lower blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes. It is also used to lower the risk of cardiovascular (heart-related) death in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes. This might include a heart attack or stroke. Over time, high blood sugar levels can cause plaque to build up in your blood vessels, which elevates your risk for heart disease.

Jardiance is classified as an SGLT-2 (sodium-glucose cotransporter-2) inhibitor. 

  • SGLT-2 proteins are located in the renal tubules of the kidneys and are responsible for reabsorbing glucose back into the blood.
  • Jardiance blocks the action of the SGLT-2 proteins. As a result, more glucose is excreted in the urine. 
  • SGLT-2 inhibitors have been shown to be effective at lowering hemoglobin A1c levels, improving weight loss and lowering blood pressure. They carry a low risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

Jardiance can be added to other medicines for type 2 diabetes such as metformin, sulfonylureas, pioglitazone, and insulin as well as other heart medications like statins, beta blockers, ACE inhibitors, and diuretics.

When used alone, SGLT-2 inhibitors carry a low risk of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels). However, your doctor may need to lower your dose of Jardiance if you take it with other drugs that also cause low blood sugar, like insulin or sulfonylureas. 

Other FDA approved medications in the SGLT-2  inhibitor class include canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and ertugliflozin (Steglatro). These medicines come as single-ingredient products or combined with other diabetes medicines

How can Jardiance help me with my type 2 diabetes?

In type 2 diabetes your body does not make enough insulin, the insulin you do make does not work as well, and you may make too much glucose (sugar). When this happens, glucose builds up in your blood and can lead to serious health conditions with the heart, kidney, nerves, blood vessels and eyes. Diet, exercise, and use of special medications can help to lower your blood sugar and risks from type 2 diabetes.

Many patients first diagnosed with type 2 diabetes start on an oral medication known as metformin. It’s in the class of drugs known as biguanides. It increases the cells ability to use glucose (blood sugar) by improving how your insulin works and decreases liver glucose production and absorption. 

However, some patients cannot reach their blood sugar goal with metformin alone and need extra medication.

Jardiance can be added to metformin or other medications to help you reach your A1C goal. A1C is a simple blood test that shows the average amount of sugar (glucose) in your blood over the past 2 to 3 months, letting you know how well your blood sugar is being controlled over time.

Who should not use Jardiance?

Jardiance should not be used in people with type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis (increased ketones in the blood or urine).

You should not use Jardiance if you have a history of a serious allergic reaction to Jardiance of any of its ingredients. You also should not use this drug if you have severe kidney (renal) disease, end-stage renal disease, or are on dialysis. Your doctor will check your kidney function before you begin treatment with Jardiance.

How do I take Jardiance?

  • Take Jardiance once each day exactly as your doctor tells you. It comes in a 10 mg or 25 mg tablet that you swallow.
  • The recommended dose of Jardiance is 10 mg once daily in the morning, taken with or without food. If you are tolerating Jardiance, the dose may be increased to 25 mg if you need it.
  • Your doctor will check your kidney before you start treatment. If you have a certain level of kidney disease, you may not be able to use Jardiance. 
  •  Do not take Jardiance if you are allergic to any of its ingredients.

Jardiance is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years of age.

Important side effects with Jardiance

Jardiance is usually well-tolerated. However, as with all drugs, there are important side effects and you should review and discuss with your doctor.

Serious side effects with Jardiance can include:

  • Ketoacidosis (increased ketones in your blood or urine)
  • Sudden kidney injury
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Dehydration  (the loss of body water and salt)
  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Necrotizing fasciitis (a rare but serious tissue infection under the skin that can happen around the anus and genitals)
  • Allergic reactions
  • Increased cholesterol

The most common side effects (5% or greater) that may occur with Jardiance are:

  • Urinary tract infections
  • Yeast infections 

This is not all the information you need to know about Jardiance for safe and effective use. Review the full Jardiance information here, and speak to your health care provider if you have questions or concerns.

References
  • Jardiance [package insert].  Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ridgefield, CT Accessed May 18, 2020 at https://docs.boehringer-ingelheim.com/Prescribing%20Information/PIs/Jardiance/jardiance.pdf
  • Jardiance [Medication Guide]. Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc.; Ridgefield, CT Accessed May 18, 2020 at  https://docs.boehringer-ingelheim.com/Prescribing%20Information/PIs/Jardiance/Patient%20Info/Jardiance%20Medication%20Guide

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