EMPAGLIFLOZIN (EM pa gli FLOE zin) treats type 2 diabetes. It works by helping your kidneys remove sugar (glucose) from your blood through the urine, which decreases your blood sugar. It may also be used to lower the risk of worsening disease and death caused by kidney disease and heart failure. It works by helping your kidneys remove salt (sodium) from your blood through the urine. This decreases the amount of work the kidneys and heart have to do. Changes to diet and exercise are often combined with this medication.
What should I tell my care team before I take this medication?
They need to know if you have any of these conditions:
Diet low in salt
Eating less due to illness, surgery, dieting, or any other reason
Frequently drink alcohol
High levels of potassium in the blood
History of pancreatitis or pancreas problems
History of yeast infection of the penis or vagina
Infections in the bladder, kidneys, or urinary tract
Low blood pressure
Type 1 diabetes
An unusual or allergic reaction to empagliflozin, other medications, foods, dyes, or preservatives
Pregnant or trying to get pregnant
How should I use this medication?
Take this medication by mouth with water. Take it as directed on the prescription label at the same time every day. You may take it with or without food. Keep taking it unless your care team tells you to stop.
A special MedGuide will be given to you by the pharmacist with each prescription and refill. Be sure to read this information carefully each time.
Talk to your care team about the use of this medication in children. While it may be prescribed for children as young as 10 years for selected conditions, precautions do apply.
What if I miss a dose?
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you can. If it is almost time for your next dose, take only that dose. Do not take double or extra doses.
What may interact with this medication?
What side effects may I notice from receiving this medication?
Side effects that you should report to your care team as soon as possible:
Allergic reactions—skin rash, itching, hives, swelling of the face, lips, tongue, or throat
Dehydration—increased thirst, dry mouth, feeling faint or lightheaded, headache, dark yellow or brown urine
Diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA)—increased thirst or amount of urine, dry mouth, fatigue, fruity odor to breath, trouble breathing, stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
Genital yeast infection—redness, swelling, pain, or itchiness, odor, thick or lumpy discharge
New pain or tenderness, change in skin color, sores or ulcers, infection of the leg or foot
Infection or redness, swelling, tenderness, or pain in the genitals, or area from the genitals to the back of the rectum
Urinary tract infection (UTI)—burning when passing urine, passing frequent small amounts of urine, bloody or cloudy urine, pain in the lower back or sides
What should I watch for while using this medication?
Visit your care team for regular checks on your progress. Tell your care team if your symptoms do not start to get better or if they get worse.
This medication can cause a serious condition in which there is too much acid in the blood. If you develop nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, unusual tiredness, or breathing problems, stop taking this medication and call your care team right away. If possible, use a ketone dipstick to check for ketones in your urine.
Check with your care team if you have severe diarrhea, nausea, and vomiting, or if you sweat a lot. The loss of too much body fluid may make it dangerous for you to take this medication.
A test called the HbA1C (A1C) will be monitored. This is a simple blood test. It measures your blood sugar control over the last 2 to 3 months. You will receive this test every 3 to 6 months.
Learn how to check your blood sugar. Learn the symptoms of low and high blood sugar and how to manage them.
Always carry a quick-source of sugar with you in case you have symptoms of low blood sugar. Examples include hard sugar candy or glucose tablets. Make sure others know that you can choke if you eat or drink when you develop serious symptoms of low blood sugar, such as seizures or unconsciousness. Get medical help at once.
Tell your care team if you have high blood sugar. You might need to change the dose of your medication. If you are sick or exercising more than usual, you may need to change the dose of your medication.
Where should I keep my medication?
Keep out of the reach of children and pets.
Store at room temperature between 20 and 25 degrees C (68 and 77 degrees F). Get rid of any unused medication after the expiration date.
To get rid of medications that are no longer needed or have expired:
Take the medication to a medication take-back program. Check with your pharmacy or law enforcement to find a location.
If you cannot return the medication, check the label or package insert to see if the medication should be thrown out in the garbage or flushed down the toilet. If you are not sure, ask your care team. If it is safe to put it in the trash, take the medication out of the container. Mix the medication with cat litter, dirt, coffee grounds, or other unwanted substance. Seal the mixture in a bag or container. Put it in the trash.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.
This information is educational only and should not be construed as specific instructions for individual patients nor as a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Talk to your health care provider or pharmacist about the information and instructions. K Health assumes no liability for any use or reliance on this information.