According to reports, India is widely referred to as the ‘Diabetes Capital of the World’. The diabetic population in India is at a whooping 77 million and will hit an alarming mark of 135 million by 2045. Type-2 diabetes accounts for most of these cases.
Diabetes is a chronic disease that develops either when the pancreas doesn’t produce adequate insulin (a hormone that regulates blood glucose) or when the body cannot effectively use the produced insulin.
There are several medications available in the market to control type-2 diabetes, but dapagliflozin is a game-changer glucose-lowering agent that works extremely well in managing type-2 diabetes.
What Is Type-2 Diabetes?
Among the types of diabetes, the two prominent ones are type-1 and type-2 diabetes.
Type-1 diabetes (also called insulin-dependent, childhood-onset) is characterized by deficient insulin production and requires daily administration of insulin.
Type 2 diabetes (non-insulin-dependent or adult-onset) is a chronic metabolic disorder in which blood sugar levels (glucose) elevate in your bloodstream. It’s caused by inadequate production of insulin in your body or its ineffective usage, which leads to disruption in the circulatory, nervous, and immune systems of our body.
Symptoms of Type-2 Diabetes
The development of type-2 diabetes has no symptoms until its later stages. Symptoms can be subtle and easily overlooked at first. An individual with type-2 diabetes may exhibit the following symptoms:
- Increased thirst and hunger
- Frequent urination
- Excessive weight loss or weight gain
- Slow-healing wounds
- Frequent infections
- Skin darkening in folds
Type-2 Diabetes Medication
Diabetes medication is ever-evolving, but diabetes is incurable. The right medications, lifestyle changes, and weight management go a long way in helping an individual manage or even reverse type-2 diabetes.
There are various medicines prescribed for managing type-2 diabetes. Here are some of them:
- Metformin: A widely used oral medication that reduces the amount of glucose produced by the liver and improves insulin sensitivity.
- Sulfonylureas: A class of oral medications that stimulate the pancreas to produce more insulin.
- DPP-4 inhibitors: A class of oral medications that help to increase the levels of insulin in the body and improve glycemic control.
- Dapagliflozin (SGLT2 inhibitors): A class of oral medications that block the reabsorption of glucose in the kidney.
- Thiazolidinediones: A class of oral medications that improve insulin sensitivity in peripheral tissues.
Apart from the mentioned medicines, several other lines of treatment are also used to effectively control type-2 diabetes. Amongst all, dapagliflozin is growing in prominence and has shown remarkable results in managing glucose levels.
That being said, only a certified healthcare professional can analyze which medicine best suits an individual.
What Is Dapagliflozin?
Dapagliflozin is the first in a novel class of glucose-lowering agents known as sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors that are commonly used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes Mellitus (T2DM).
In clinical trials, dapagliflozin has been shown to improve glycemic control, reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, and lead to weight loss.
Additionally, when administered daily in combination therapy with other medications (metformin, glimepiride, pioglitazone, insulin), it showed significant results in improving blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
How Does Dapagliflozin Help in Treating Type-2 Diabetes
Dapagliflozin works by blocking the reabsorption of filtered sodium and glucose in the kidney, leading to increased elimination of glucose in the urine. This mechanism helps in lowering the elevated blood sugar levels in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
Dapagliflozin also helps in lowering the risks of cardiovascular disease by improving the symptoms such as breathlessness, fatigue, and swelling in your lower legs. The drug encourages good heart and kidney function in type-2 diabetics.
Common Side Effects of Dapagliflozin
Like most medicines, dapagliflozin also comes with a few side effects. It usually improves as your body adjusts to the medicine. But if the symptoms persist, a doctor visit is imperative.
The following are the most common side effects of dapagliflozin:
- Thrush or yeast infections
- Polyuria or peeing more than normal
- UTI (urinary tract infection)
- Skin rashes
- Hypoglycemia (if taken in combination with insulin)
- Low blood pressure
The above symptoms may not apply to everyone. As a safety and precautionary measure, never exceed the prescribed dosage, and always consult your health care specialist before taking dapagliflozin with other medicines.
Is Dapagliflozin the Ultimate Solution?
Dapagliflozin is considered a significant breakthrough in the treatment of type 2 diabetes, but it’s not the ultimate solution for type 2 diabetes. Despite being effective at improving glycemic control and reducing the risk of cardiovascular events, it’s not a cure for type-2 diabetes, and it definitely doesn’t suit everyone.
The treatment approach for type-2 diabetes will vary depending on an individual’s specific needs and medical history.
Dapagliflozin may be beneficial for some, but only a healthcare professional can develop a comprehensive treatment plan that includes lifestyle modifications, a healthy diet, and regular physical activity — in addition to any necessary medications.
If you feel like you may be at risk for diabetes, our advice to you is to know and fully understand its symptoms, get A1C or HbA1C tests done, and seek medical attention at the earliest to save yourself from a host of ailments and medications. If you’d like to learn more about type-2 diabetes, its prevention, and treatment, or if you seek medical intervention, get in touch with Ayu Health at +91 636-610-0800 or book an appointment on our website.
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About the Author
Dr. S. Goel
Dr. S. Goel is a renowned Internal Medicine Specialist currently practicing at Ayu Health Hospital, Bangalore. He is a Specialist in Internal Medicine, Diabetes HTN, Paediatric Care, and Family Medicine.