Dapagliflozin and Metformin HCl

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Dapagliflozin and Metformin HCl are intended for use to treat type-2 diabetes. It is a chronic condition that affects the way your body metabolizes sugar. Sugar or also called glucose is an important source of fuel for your body. With type-2 diabetes, your body either resists the effects of insulin or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain normal glucose levels. Insulin is a hormone that regulates the movement of sugar into your cells. Type-2 diabetes used to be known as adult-onset diabetes, but today more children are being diagnosed with the disorder. There’s no cure for type-2 diabetes, but eating well, losing weight, and exercising can help manage the disease. Signs and symptoms of type 2 diabetes often develop slowly. You can have type-2 diabetes for years and not know it. Look for:

  • Increased thirst
  • Increased hunger
  • Frequent infections
  • Frequent urination
  • Unintended weight loss
  • Fatigue
  • Slow-healing sores
  • Blurred vision
  • Areas of darkened skin usually in the armpits and neck

This type of condition develops when the body becomes resistant to insulin or when the pancreas is unable to produce enough insulin. Exactly why this happens is unknown, although genetics and environmental factors such as being overweight and inactive seem to be contributing factors. 

Glucose is the main source of energy for the cells that make up muscles and other tissues. Glucose comes from two major sources: food and your liver. Sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, where it enters cells with the help of insulin. Your liver stores and makes glucose. When your glucose levels are low, the liver breaks down stored glycogen into glucose to keep your glucose level within a normal range. In type 2 diabetes, this process doesn’t work well. Instead of moving into your cells, sugar builds up in your bloodstream. As blood sugar levels increase, the insulin-producing beta cells in the pancreas release more insulin, but eventually these cells become impaired and can’t make enough insulin to meet the body’s demands.

How do the medicines work?

Dapagliflozin works in the kidneys, where it allows the body to excrete extra glucose from the blood into the urine. Usually, when the kidneys filter and clean the blood, glucose is filtered out of the blood at the same time. The glucose is then reabsorbed back into the blood by a mechanism called the sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2). The kidneys generally reabsorb glucose back into the blood even when the levels of glucose in the blood are too high, as in diabetes. Dapagliflozin works by inhibiting the SGLT2 transporter. This allows excess glucose to be filtered out of the blood and excreted in the urine. This will reduce blood sugar levels.

Dapagliflozin has two other effects that may be of benefit to people with diabetes. Firstly, it may cause weight loss due to the loss of sugar from the body. Secondly, it causes a small increase in the amount of water being filtered out of the blood into the urine. This may help to reduce blood pressure.

Metformin HCl is a type of antidiabetic medicine known as a biguanide. It works in several ways to lessen the amount of sugar in the blood. Firstly, it moderates the amount of sugar produced by cells in the liver. Secondly, it increases the sensitivity of muscle cells to insulin. This allows these cells to remove sugar from the blood more effectively. Finally, it delays the absorption of sugar from the intestines into the bloodstream after eating so that there is less of a spike in blood sugar levels after meals.

How to Use

The dosage is based on your medical condition, response to treatment, and other medications you may be taking. Be sure to tell your doctor about all the products you use. To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may direct you to start this medication at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

Take this medication by mouth usually once daily in the morning or as directed by your doctor. Each dose may be taken with food. Swallow the tablet as a whole. Do not crush or chew the tablets. Doing so can release the entire drug at once which increases the risk of side effects. Take this medication regularly to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, take it at the same time each day. Tell your doctor if your condition does not improve or if it worsens. 

What are the side effects?

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Flu symptoms
  • Headache
  • Back pain
  • Nausea
  • Cough
  • Dizziness
  • Increased urination
  • Constipation
  • Pain in extremities 
  • Genital yeast infection in women and men

If there are side effects that persist, call for medical assistance right away. 

What should I know before taking this medication?

  • You must continue to follow the diet and exercise advice given to you by your doctor while you are taking this drug. This medicine only helps to control your blood sugar levels and should not be used as a substitute for eating healthily and taking regular exercise.
  • Your ability to concentrate may be reduced if you have low blood sugar. This can cause problems in driving or operating machinery. You should take precautions to avoid low blood sugar when driving. This medicine may also cause dizziness. If affected you should take care of driving or operating machinery.
  • You should avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking this drug. It can increase the risk of low blood sugar and a very rare side effect called lactic acidosis. 

Who should not take this medication?

  • People with liver problems
  • People with reduced blood flow to vital internal organs 
  • Dehydrated people
  • People with severe infections or blood poisoning 
  • People who are allergic to any ingredient of the medicine

This medication should be used with caution by:

  • Elderly people
  • People with a high percentage of red blood cells in their blood 
  • People with a history of frequent urinary tract infections 
  • People with heart disease 
  • People with a history of frequent genital infections