Farxiga side effects and how to avoid them
Farxiga is a brand-name medication manufactured by AstraZeneca. It is classed as a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2 inhibitor) and is used to treat Type 2 diabetes, heart failure, and chronic kidney disease (CKD).
While Farxiga is generally well tolerated, there are some potential side effects that people should be aware of. The most common side effects of Farxiga include constipation, back pain, and weight loss. Less common, but more serious side effects, can include urinary tract infections, diabetic ketoacidosis, and low blood sugar.
Learn more about the Farxiga side effects and what you can do to avoid them.
What is Farxiga (dapagliflozin)?
Farxiga is used to reduce high blood sugar levels in people who have type 2 diabetes. It is also used in certain people to lower the risk of hospitalization for heart failure. In people with type 2 diabetes, it’s approved to:
- Improve blood sugar levels when used in combination with changes to diet and exercise
- Reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in people with heart disease or risk factors for heart disease
In people with heart failure with or without type 2 diabetes, Farxiga is approved to reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure or cardiovascular death in people with reduced ejection fraction. For those with chronic kidney disease that may worsen, Farxiga is approved to reduce the risk of:
- Lowered glomerular filtration rate (GFR)
- End-stage kidney disease
- Cardiovascular death
- Hospitalization for heart failure
The active ingredient in Farxiga is called dapagliflozin. When absorbed into your bloodstream, dapagliflozin slows down the rate at which your kidneys absorb glucose from your blood. This causes your kidneys to release sugar into your urine. Your blood sugar levels then fall as you urinate. Farxiga can be used in combination with some other diabetes medications, including insulin, metformin, or sulfonylurea.
Farxiga is not approved to treat type 1 diabetes and should not be used to treat diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
Farxiga is available as 5 mg and 10 mg tablets. For Type 2 diabetes mellitus the recommended starting dose is 5 mg once daily, taken in the morning. The dose may be increased to 10 mg once daily if 5 mg is tolerated but require additional glycemic control.
To reduce the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease or multiple cardiovascular risk factors, the recommended dose is 10 mg once daily. For heart failure, the recommended dose is 10 mg once daily.
If you miss a dose, take it as soon as you remember. If it is almost the time of your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your next dose at the normal time.
You are advised to read the medication guide provided with this medicine for the drug information and patient information, and always speak with your healthcare provider for medical advice about any changes to your dose so they can monitor and evaluate your condition.
How effective is Farxiga?
Farxiga reduces the risk of hospitalization due to heart failure or cardiovascular death by 26% when used with standard-of-care treatment in people with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.
What are the side effects of Farxiga?
The most common possible side effects of Farxiga include:
- Dehydration, changes in urination, dizziness, back pain
- Weight loss
Farxiga can cause more serious side effects, including:
- Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
- More serious urinary tract infections (UTI)
- Inflammation of the pancreas
- Diabetic ketoacidosis
- A rare bacterial infection that damages the tissue under the skin in the area between the anus and genitals (necrotizing fasciitis)
- Unusual tiredness, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, trouble breathing
- Ketoacidosis (increased ketones in your blood or urine)
- Increase in your cholesterol levels
If you experience any of these serious side effects, stop taking Farxiga and seek medical attention immediately. You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Farxiga drug interactions
Farxiga can interact with other medications including:
- Beta-blockers – atenolol, bisoprolol, sotalol
- Diuretics – bendroflumethiazide, bumetanide, furosemide
- Antipsychotics – clozapine
- Corticosteroids – cortisone, dexamethasone, hydrocortisone
- ACE inhibitors – captopril, enalapril, ramipril
Farxiga can interact with other medications, changing how it and other medications work. If this happens, side effects may be more likely. Tell your prescribing physician about all drugs you’re taking, including vitamins and dietary supplements. In particular, let them know if you’re taking a diuretic or any other medications for diabetes like insulin or sulfonylureas.
Farxiga warnings & precautions
Don’t take Farxiga if:
- Are allergic to the active ingredient dapagliflozin
- Are allergic to any of the other ingredients found in Farxiga (listed in the leaflet which comes with the medication)
- Have diabetic ketoacidosis or a history of diabetic ketoacidosis
- Have severe kidney issues or are on dialysis
- Are pregnant or breastfeeding – It is unknown if this drug passes into breast milk
- Are under 18 years of age
Talk to your doctor before taking Farxiga if you:
- Have Type 1 diabetes
- Have liver or kidney problems
- Have heart disease
- Are over 65 years of age
- Are taking medication to lower your blood pressure or have a history of low blood pressure
- Often get urinary tract infections
You should always check with your doctor or pharmacist before taking any medication, including Farxiga, to make sure it is safe for you.
Other warnings you should know about
- Farxiga can cause a rare but very serious bacterial infection in the genital/anal area (Fournier’s gangrene) in people with type 2 diabetes. Call your doctor right away if you have signs of a yeast infection in the vagina (unusual discharge, burning, itching, or smell) or in the penis (redness, itching, swelling, or unusual discharge from the penis)
- Farxiga can increase your risk of kidney damage. This is more likely to occur if you are dehydrated, have kidney or heart problems if you take medications that affect your kidneys, or are over 65 years of age. Your doctor may test your kidney function during treatment with Farxiga
- Farxiga may cause serious allergic reactions such as skin rash, hives, swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat, and difficulty breathing or swallowing. Contact your healthcare provider or go to the nearest hospital emergency room right away if you have these side effects
How to avoid Farxiga side effects
The best way to avoid side effects is to take Farxiga as directed by your doctor. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully and do not take more or less than prescribed.
If you experience any side effects, talk to your doctor or pharmacist. They may be able to recommend ways to help reduce or prevent some of the side effects.
1. Stick to the recommended dosage
Take your prescribed dose of Farxiga that has been recommended by your healthcare professional. Do not take more or less than prescribed.
2. Monitor your blood sugar levels
If you have diabetes, it is important to monitor your blood sugar levels closely while taking Farxiga. Check your blood sugar levels as directed by your doctor and report any changes to your doctor immediately.
3. Drink plenty of fluids
Drink eight to 10 glasses of water or fluids every day to help prevent dehydration, which can make side effects worse. Tell your doctor right away if you have any signs of dehydration, such as urinating less than usual, unusual dry mouth, thirst, fast heartbeat, or feeling lightheaded or faint especially when you stand up (orthostatic hypotension).
4. Avoid alcohol
Avoid drinking or limit your alcohol intake while taking Farxiga as alcohol may raise your blood sugar and cause dehydration. If you have diabetes, this can cause your condition to worsen. In addition, Farxiga can cause a condition called diabetic ketoacidosis as well as dehydration.
5. Don’t skip meals
Eating regular meals and snacks will help to prevent low blood sugar levels (hypoglycemia).
6. Check your feet
If you have diabetes, check your feet for any cuts, sores, or redness regularly. Tell your doctor if you experience any problems with your feet while taking Farxiga.
7. Know the signs and symptoms of Farxiga side effects
Signs and symptoms of side effects of Farxiga include dehydration, dizziness, and weight loss. If you experience any of these symptoms speak to your doctor for medical advice.
8. Monitor your weight
Farxiga may cause weight loss. If you experience this side effect while taking Farxiga, get medical advice from your doctor.
9. Tell your doctor about all medications you’re taking
Be sure to tell your doctor about all other medications you’re taking, including over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, and herbal supplements, as they can interact with Farxiga.
10. Get regular medical checkups
If you have side effects it is important to get regular medical checkups and monitor your medical conditions. Your doctor will monitor your condition and may adjust your dose of Farxiga as needed.
A medical professional has reviewed this article.
Dr. Jamie Winn received his Doctor of Pharmacy in 2002 from the University of South Carolina College of Pharmacy, Columbia, SC. Jamie is a medical reviewer for NiceRx.