More than 29 million Americans have diabetes, a serious condition that can be difficult to manage. Throughout November, communities across the nation are recognizing and participating in National Diabetes Month. At MedTruth, we’re drawing attention to the increasingly common illness with a specific focus on educating patients about how to handle diabetes drug side effects.

Also known as diabetes mellitus, this illness can have a debilitating impact on overall quality of life. In some cases, drugs prescribed to manage a diabetic’s blood sugar fluctuations may actually increase the risk of developing more serious complications.

1. Managing diabetes

Diabetes medications may be used to control blood sugar and effectively manage the disease.

Diabetes may begin at a young age or develop over time. There are three different types of diabetes, each with systemic issues and associated symptoms. Regardless of the specific type, diabetes is defined by issues with insulin.

Type 1 DiabetesType 2 DiabetesGestational Diabetes
The body is unable to make insulin, preventing it from taking blood glucose from food to make energy.The body doesn’t make or use insulin well, requiring pills or insulin injections to manage and control blood glucose.Temporary diabetes during pregnancy may develop, possibly subsiding after childbirth, with a greater chance of returning later in life.

The production of insulin is essential for the body to properly function, keep glucose levels balanced and avoid possible medical emergencies. When diet and lifestyle changes aren’t enough, doctors may prescribe medications to help manage the disease and keep patients safe from developing insulin reactions that can lead to diabetic shock.

A variety of diabetes medications, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), have been successful in helping patients control blood sugar. These medications may be associated with:

  • Increased energy
  • Less thirst and hunger
  • Less frequent urination
  • Faster healing
  • Fewer skin or bladder infections

Some medications, however, may come with an increased risk of complications.

Tasked with monitoring food, exercise, medication, and other significant health elements, it can be difficult to develop a personalized care plan to manage diabetes. Without proper information, diabetics may not factor in the potential for diabetes drug side effects.

 

2. Recognizing complications

Certain diabetes medications have been linked to an increased risk of developing serious side effects.

Type 2 diabetes is the most common variation of the illness, affecting an estimated 90 to 95 percent of diabetes patients. One popular drug class prescribed to manage type 2 diabetes is sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.

Diabetes, potentially compounded by the effects of obesity, leaves individuals prone to a greater risk of health problems. Diabetics already have a higher chance of developing various issues, including:

  • Heart attack
  • Stroke
  • Vision problems or blindness
  • Pain, tingling, or numbness in hands and feet
  • Nerve damage
  • Kidney problems
  • Teeth and gum problems

Because diabetics are more likely to have nerve damage and kidney issues, they may not realize their diabetes medication is actually accelerating the development of diabetes-related complications. For some diabetics, diabetes drugs may also lead to an increased risk of developing diabetes drug side effects, including amputation, ketoacidosis and kidney disease.

The FDA has released a number of safety communications informing patients about the risks associated with diabetes drug side effects, but many patients taking the medication remain unaware of the signs and symptoms. The first step in avoiding complications is being aware of potential diabetes drug side effects and paying attention to the body’s changes to seek medical attention if something doesn’t feel right.

 

 

3. Seeking assistance

Resources may be available for individuals who used diabetes drugs and developed complications.

Diabetes medications come with known and unknown side effects, but doctors may not always inform patients of the associated risks. Invokana, a popular SGLT2 inhibitor, can cause a number of diabetes drug side effects.

Diabetes Drug Side Effects
Leg, Foot, Toe Amputations
Ketoacidosis
Kidney Injury

Individuals who used the diabetes medication Invokana may have developed ketoacidosis, experienced kidney issues or required a leg, toe, or foot amputation. The complications are serious, and some may require extended hospitalizations and surgical interventions.

Resources and potential compensation may be available for diabetics who have suffered from serious, life-changing complications. Many diabetics currently experiencing complications are unaware that help is out here, and it’s easy to learn more about options for diabetes drug side effects by talking to an advocate.

It’s important to improve existing prescribing information and make sure diabetics are aware of how to avoid potential side effects, and what to do if they occur.

Living with diabetes is already challenging. At MedTruth, we educate the public about diabetes and take it one step further by offering assistance for patients who may have developed diabetes drug side effects.