Forxiga – Diabetes Medication

General Summary

  • Trade Name: Forxiga
  • Generic name: Dapagliflozin
  • Drug class: SGLT2 Inhibitors
  • Manufacturer: Bristol-Myers Squibb and AstraZeneca

What is Forxiga?

Forxiga is a tablet medication which helps the kidneys to filter out excess glucose from the blood and express it from the body through urine. This helps to reduce blood glucose levels.

Forxiga is part of a class of drugs known as SGLT2 Inhibitors. SGLT2 proteins are responsible for 90% of the glucose that is reabsorbed back into the blood. These drugs work by targeting and helping to stop sodium-glucose transport proteins from allowing glucose that has already been filtered out of the blood to be reabsorbed again.

Inhibiting SGLT2 proteins allows a significant amount of glucose in the blood to be removed and excreted from the body.

The medication can also support weight loss, because the calories from the excess glucose are also expelled. Nevertheless, a healthy diet and active lifestyle should still be maintained to keep the body in good health.

Forxiga is taken as a tablet in 10mg doses with or without food. It’s best to try and take Forxiga around the same time each day and never take more than one dose within a period of 12 hours. If you happen to miss a dose, wait until the next one and do not take more to compensate.

Always keep your tablets in the original packaging and store at room temperature.

Who Can Take Forxiga?

NICE (The National Institute for Clinical Excellence) has approved the use of Forxiga in England and Wales as a dual therapy treatment with metformin in adult patients who can’t tolerate sulphonylurea drugs.

In Scotland, Forxiga can by used by adults with type 2 diabetes as a single treatment or a dual treatment with metformin, sulphonylureas or insulin.

Who Can’t Take Forxiga?

Forxiga cannot be taken by people who:

  • Have type 1 diabetes
  • Are pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding
  • Have low kidney function
  • Are galactose intolerant
  • Have low sodium levels
  • Are under the age of 18
  • Are over the age of 75
  • Are taking Actos or loop diuretics.

Side Effects

The following side effects can occur when taking Forxiga:

  • Hypoglycemia can occur if taken with sulphonylureas or insulin.
  • Thrush
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Increased need to urinate
  • Pain when urinating
  • Changes in blood fat levels
  • Lower blood pressure

You should always read the patient information leaflet that comes with your medication to know the full extent of the side effects that can occur.

Long Term Effects

The full extent Forxiga’s long-term effects are yet unknown because it is a relatively new drug. However, clinical trials have shown a slight increase in the rate of patients with bladder, prostate and breast cancers amongst those taking Forxiga when compared to the placebo group. Currently, the increased rate of these cancers has been outlined as not statistically significant.

The risk of bladder cancer has received much more attention due to the increase of glucose in a patient’s urine, who was taking the drug to promote the ideal environment for the growth of tumours in the bladder. However, trials have yet to establish a significant increased risk to date.

Kidney damage has occurred during tests on pregnant rats. There is no evidence of such damage in adult mammals or humans in clinical trials. Nevertheless, it is still important to have your kidneys regularly checked at least once a year whilst taking Forxiga.

Invokana is in the same drug class as Forxiga. It has been associated with a drop in eGFR; an indicator which is used to measure kidney function. As a result, there is speculation as to whether SGLT2 inhibitors will have a detrimental effect on the kidneys over a long period of time, whether or not patients take these drugs.