What Is Farxiga (Dapagliflozin)?

Reviewed by: HU Medical Review Board | Last reviewed: May 2020

Farxiga is a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor. Farxiga (dapagliflozin) is used for adults with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. It is specifically for those with Class II through IV heart failure, according to the New York Heart Association (NYHA) heart failure guidelines. Farxiga is for reducing the risk of hospitalization for heart failure or cardiovascular-related death.

Farxiga is also indicated for use in type 2 diabetes. It is used for blood sugar control in addition to diet and exercise. It can also help reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in this group as well. Farxiga is not for type 1 diabetics.

What are the ingredients in Farxiga?

The main ingredient in Farxiga is dapagliflozin. Dapagliflozin is a type of drug called a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor.

How does Farxiga work?

As mentioned, Farxiga is an SGLT2 inhibitor. This means it blocks the effects of a protein on kidney cells called SGLT2. The kidneys act as a filtering system for our bodies. They control what leaves the body in the urine and what gets reabsorbed back into the blood. SGLT2 plays a role in sugar balance. It is a channel that allows glucose (sugar) in the kidneys to go back into the blood. By blocking this channel, glucose has a harder time getting into the blood, and instead, leaves the body in the urine. This helps reduce blood sugar levels, especially in people with type 2 diabetes.

Farxiga also impacts salt and water balance in the kidneys. Specifically, it leads to more water being lost in the urine rather than reabsorbed back into the blood. The heart pumps blood and fluids through the body. When the amount of fluid is reduced, the heart has less to pump around. This reduces stress on the heart. Decreasing the work the heart has to do in order to function can be helpful in reducing the symptoms and progression of heart failure.

What are the possible side effects of Farxiga?

The most common side effects of Farxiga include urinary tract infections, genital yeast infections in women, and colds (stuffy/runny nose or sore throat). This is not a full list of all potential side effects. Your doctor can provide you with more information on Farxiga.

Things to know about Farxiga

As with other drugs, there are rare but serious side effects that can occur with Farxiga. Farxiga can cause some people to lose too much water and become dehydrated. Signs of dehydration include feeling lightheaded, weak, or dizzy, especially when standing up. Becoming significantly dehydrated can lead to kidney damage.

Although genital yeast infections are more common in women taking Farxiga, both men and women are at risk for these while taking the drug. Signs of a yeast infection in women include vaginal odor, itching, or discolored discharge. Signs of a yeast infection in men include redness, itching, pain, rash, or discharge on or around the penis.

Farxiga may also cause urinary tract infections or a rare bacterial infection in the skin between the anus and the genitals. If you notice changes in your urinary habits, pain in your pelvis, or tenderness, swelling, or redness around your anus or genital area, contact your doctor immediately.

People with severe kidney problems or who are on dialysis should not take Farxiga. Those who are allergic to Farxiga or any of its ingredients should not take the drug either. If you notice signs of an allergic reaction (rash, hives, difficulty breathing, or swelling of the face, lips, or tongue), contact your doctor immediately.

Farxiga can cause an increase in acid in the blood called ketoacidosis. This is especially true for people with type 2 diabetes who take the drug. Signs of ketoacidosis include nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, tiredness, and trouble breathing. Farxiga can also cause a person’s blood sugar to become too low. Signs of low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) include headache, weakness, confusion, dizziness, shaking, irritability, sweating, and fast heartbeat.

Farxiga may harm an unborn baby, especially during the second and third trimesters of pregnancy. It is unclear if Farxiga can pass through breast milk. Because of this, Farxiga may not be recommended for pregnant women and women who are breastfeeding.

What to tell your doctor

Before starting Farxiga, tell your doctor if you:

  • Have a history of kidney, pancreas, or liver problems
  • Have type 1 diabetes or have had diabetic ketoacidosis in the past
  • Are planning to have surgery in the near future
  • Have recently changed your diet or are planning to change your diet
  • Have a history of urinary tract infections or urinary issues
  • Drink alcohol often or binge drink (drink a lot of alcohol in a short amount of time)
  • Are pregnant or may become pregnant
  • Are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed
  • Are taking any other medications, vitamins, or supplements

Read the prescribing information to learn more about Farxiga.1

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