Empagliflozin, Oral Tablet

Medically reviewed by Creighton University, Center for Drug Information and Evidence-Based Practice on March 30, 2017Written by University of Illinois-Chicago, Drug Information Group on November 22, 2017

Highlights for empagliflozin

  1. Empagliflozin oral tablet is available as a brand-name drug. It’s not available in a generic version. Brand name: Jardiance.
  2. Empagliflozin comes only as a tablet you take by mouth.
  3. Empagliflozin oral tablet is used along with diet and exercise to help lower blood sugar levels in adults with type 2 diabetes. It’s also used to reduce the risk of death caused by heart problems in adults with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

Important warnings

  • Dehydration warning: This drug can cause some people to lose body water and salt. Symptoms of dehydration include dizziness, feeling faint, lightheadedness, or weakness, especially when you stand up. If you have these symptoms, call your doctor.
  • Yeast infection warning: This drug can cause a yeast infection. Talk to your doctor about what to do if you get symptoms of a yeast infection:
    • Symptoms in women can include vaginal odor, white or yellowish vaginal discharge, and vaginal itching.
    • Symptoms in men can include redness, itching, swelling, and rash of the penis. They may also include pain in the skin around the penis and foul-smelling discharge from the penis.
  • Ketoacidosis warning: This drug may cause diabetic ketoacidosis. This is a serious complication of diabetes that can be fatal. It happens when your body makes high levels of the blood acids called ketones. This condition should be treated with insulin. If you develop ketoacidosis, your doctor may have you stop taking this drug temporarily or permanently.
  • Urinary tract infection warning: This drug can cause severe urinary tract infections. If you have any signs of a urinary tract infection, call your doctor right away. Symptoms can include a burning sensation when you urinate, cloudy urine, and pain in your pelvis or back.

What is empagliflozin?

Empagliflozin is a prescription drug. It comes as an oral tablet.

Empagliflozin is available only as the brand-name drug Jardiance. It’s not available in a generic form.

Empagliflozin may be used as part of a combination therapy. That means you need to take it with other drugs.

Why it's used

Empagliflozin is used along with diet and exercise to help lower blood sugar in people with type 2 diabetes. It’s also used to reduce the risk of death caused by heart problems in people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

How it works

Empagliflozin belongs to a class of drugs called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2). A class of drugs is a group of medications that work in a similar way. These drugs are often used to treat similar conditions.

Empagliflozin works in your kidneys to remove sugar from your blood. It moves the sugar into your urine.

Empagliflozin side effects

Empagliflozin oral tablet doesn’t cause drowsiness, but it can cause other side effects.

More common side effects

The more common side effects that can occur with empagliflozin include:

  • Urinary tract infection. Symptoms may include:
    • a burning sensation when you urinate
    • cloudy urine
    • pain in your pelvis or back
    • the need to urinate more often
    • the need to urinate right away
    • blood in your urine

Call your doctor if you have these side effects or think you have a urinary tract infection.

Serious side effects

Call your doctor right away if you have serious side effects. Call 911 if your symptoms feel life-threatening or if you think you’re having a medical emergency. Serious side effects and their symptoms can include the following:

  • Dehydration. Symptoms can include:
    • dizziness
    • feeling faint
    • lightheadedness
    • weakness, especially when you stand up
  • Yeast infection. Symptoms in women can include:
    • vaginal odor
    • white or yellowish vaginal discharge
    • vaginal itching
  • Yeast infection. Symptoms in men can include:
    • redness, itching, or swelling of the penis
    • rash of the penis
    • foul-smelling discharge from the penis
    • pain in the skin around the penis
  • Hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Symptoms can include:
    • drowsiness
    • headache
    • confusion
    • weakness
    • hunger
    • irritability
    • sweating
    • feeling jittery
    • fast heartbeat
    • dizziness
  • Allergic reactions. Symptoms can include:
    • swelling of your face, throat, lips, and other areas on your skin
    • trouble swallowing or breathing
    • hives (raised, red areas on your skin)
    • skin rash
  • Kidney problems. Tell your doctor if you’re eating and drinking less than usual (for instance, if you have an illness and can not eat). Also tell your doctor if you’re losing fluid from your body (for instance, due to vomiting, diarrhea, or being in the sun too long).
  • Diabetic ketoacidosis. Symptoms can include:
    • excessive thirst
    • urinating more often than normal
    • nausea
    • vomiting
    • stomach pain
    • tiredness
    • weakness
    • shortness of breath
    • breath that smells fruity
    • confusion
  • Increased cholesterol levels

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible side effects. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always discuss possible side effects with a healthcare provider who knows your medical history.

Empagliflozin may interact with other medications

Empagliflozin oral tablet can interact with other medications, vitamins, or herbs you may be taking. An interaction is when a substance changes the way a drug works. This can be harmful or prevent the drug from working well.

To help avoid interactions, your doctor should manage all of your medications carefully. Be sure to tell your doctor about all medications, vitamins, or herbs you’re taking. To find out how this drug might interact with something else you’re taking, talk to your doctor or pharmacist.

Examples of drugs that can cause interactions with empagliflozin are listed below.

Diuretics (water pills)

These drugs increase urination. Empagliflozin can also increase urination, so taking these drugs together can increase your risk of dehydration. Examples of these drugs include:

  • hydrochlorothiazide
  • furosemide

Insulin and other diabetes drugs

Empagliflozin and these drugs all decrease your blood sugar level. Taking empagliflozin with these drugs could cause hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). Examples of these drugs include:

  • chlorpropamide
  • glipizide
  • glimepiride
  • glyburide
  • tolbutamide
  • tolazamide
  • repaglinide
  • nateglinide

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs interact differently in each person, we can not guarantee that this information includes all possible interactions. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your healthcare provider about possible interactions with all prescription drugs, vitamins, herbs and supplements, and over-the-counter drugs that you are taking.

Empagliflozin warnings

This drug comes with several warnings.

Allergy warning

This drug can cause a severe allergic reaction, causing symptoms such as:

  • trouble breathing
  • swelling of your throat or tongue
  • hives

If you develop these symptoms, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room.

Don’t take this drug again if you’ve ever had an allergic reaction to it. Taking it again could be fatal (cause death).

Alcohol interaction warning

Limit your use of alcohol while taking this drug. Drinking alcohol can lower your blood glucose control and increase your risk of hypoglycemia if you take medication for diabetes.

Warning for people with high cholesterol

This medication can increase your cholesterol levels. If you already have high cholesterol, your doctor will monitor your cholesterol closely and treat it if needed.

Warnings for other groups

For pregnant women: Empagliflozin is not recommended during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. Research in animals has shown negative effects to the fetus when the mother takes the drug. There haven’t been enough studies done in humans to be certain how the drug might affect the fetus.

Tell your doctor if you’re pregnant or plan to become pregnant. If you become pregnant while taking this drug, call your doctor right away.

For women who are breastfeeding: Empagliflozin is not recommended while breastfeeding. It isn’t known if this drug passes through breast milk.

For children: It hasn’t been established that this drug is safe and effective for use in children.

How to take empagliflozin

All possible dosages and forms may not be included here. Your dose, form, and how often you take it will depend on:

  • your age
  • the condition being treated
  • how severe your condition is
  • other medical conditions you have
  • how you react to the first dose

Drug form and strengths

Brand: Jardiance

  • Form: oral tablet
  • Strengths: 10 mg, 25 mg

Dosage for type 2 diabetes

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • Typical starting dosage: 10 mg, taken once per day in the morning.
  • Dosage increases: Dosage may be increased up to 25 mg, taken once per day in the morning.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children younger than 18 years old hasn’t been established.

Dosage to reduce the risk of death caused by heart problems in people with heart disease and type 2 diabetes

Adult dosage (ages 18 years and older)

  • Typical starting dosage: 10 mg, taken once per day in the morning.
  • Dosage increases: Dosage may be increased up to 25 mg, taken once per day in the morning.

Child dosage (ages 0–17 years)

Dosage for children younger than 18 years old hasn’t been established.

Special dosage considerations

For people with kidney problems: If your kidney function decreases, your doctor may have you stop taking this drug. Don’t take this medication if you have severe kidney disease or if you’re on dialysis.

Disclaimer: Our goal is to provide you with the most relevant and current information. However, because drugs affect each person differently, we can not guarantee that this list includes all possible dosages. This information is not a substitute for medical advice. Always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about dosages that are right for you.

Take as directed

Empagliflozin oral tablet is used for long-term treatment. It comes with serious risks if you don't take it as prescribed.

If you don't take it at all: If you don’t take this drug, your blood sugar levels can reach dangerously high levels. This can lead to complications such as nerve damage, heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and damage to your eyes.

If you skip or miss doses: The medication may not work as well and your blood sugar levels may not be controlled properly.

If you take too much: If you take too much, your blood sugar levels may become too low.

If you think you’ve taken too much of this drug, call your doctor or local poison control center. If your symptoms are severe, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

What to do if you miss a dose: If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If you don’t remember until your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular schedule. Don’t take two doses of this drug at the same time. Talk with your doctor if you have questions about a missed dose.

How to tell if the drug is working: Your blood sugar levels should go down, or they should stay within the normal range.

Important considerations for taking empagliflozin

Keep these considerations in mind if your doctor prescribes empagliflozin for you.

General

  • Take this drug in the morning.
  • You can cut or crush the tablet.

Storage

  • Store this drug at a temperature between 68°F and 77°F (20°C and 25°C).
  • Don’t freeze this drug.
  • Keep the drug’s container tightly closed.
  • Don’t store this medication in moist or damp areas, such as bathrooms.

Refills

A prescription for this medication is refillable. You should not need a new prescription for this medication to be refilled. Your doctor will write the number of refills authorized on your prescription.

Clinical monitoring

During your treatment with this drug, your doctor will likely monitor several health issues. These may include your:

  • Blood sugar: Your doctor will check your blood sugar levels regularly to make sure empagliflozin is working. You may also monitor your own blood sugar level at home if your doctor has asked you to use a blood glucose meter.
  • Kidney function: Your doctor will check your kidney function with blood tests before you take empagliflozin and periodically during treatment. If your kidney function is poor or worsens during therapy, your doctor may not start or continue your empagliflozin therapy.
  • Cholesterol level: Your doctor will check your cholesterol levels, because this medication may cause your cholesterol to increase.

Availability

Not every pharmacy stocks this drug. When filling your prescription, be sure to call ahead to make sure your pharmacy carries it.

Prior authorization

Many insurance companies require a prior authorization for brand-name Jardiance. This means your doctor will need to get approval from your insurance company before your insurance company will pay for the prescription.

Are there any alternatives?

There are other drugs available to treat your condition. Some may be better suited for you than others. Talk to your doctor about other drug options that may work for you.

Disclaimer: Healthline has made every effort to make certain that all information is factually correct, comprehensive, and up-to-date. However, this article should not be used as a substitute for the knowledge and expertise of a licensed healthcare professional. You should always consult your doctor or other healthcare professional before taking any medication. The drug information contained here in is subject to change and is not intended to cover all possible uses, directions, precautions, warnings, drug interactions, allergic reactions, or adverse effects. The absence of warnings or other information for a given drug does not indicate that the drug or drug combination is safe, effective, or appropriate for all patients or all specific uses.

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