A widely prescribed drug for the treatment of type 2 diabetes has the risk of a new and very unpleasant side effect.
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People with type 2 diabetes who take a particular class of drugs have a very disquieting side effect: the drugs can increase the risk that the genitals will be infected with "carnivorous" bacteria.
On Wednesday (August 29), the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued a warning about sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, commonly prescribed drugs for the treatment of Type-2 Diabetes are. Over a period of five years, the drugs have been linked to a dozen rare cases of genital infections that cause the skin to die. This disease is called necrotizing fasciitis. All 1
More specifically, the drugs have been associated with cases of carnivorous bacterial infection affecting the perineum or the skin area in between the anus and the vulva or scrotum. If this type of infection affects this part of the body, it is referred to as Fournier gangrene, a rare but potentially fatal condition, according to the Mayo Clinic.
The infection is more common in men than in women, and it can spread to other parts of the body, Dr. Ing. Amesh Adalja, a senior scientist at the Johns Hopkins University Center for Health Security, said SELF. "It can progress quickly, involving the entire genital area and even the abdominal wall," he said. [5 Ways Skin Can Signal Health Problems]
There have been enough cases of these serious infections that the FDA now requires that all SGLT2 inhibitors contain a warning about this risk in their prescribing information. Medicines in this class include canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, empagliflozin and ertugliflozin. The drugs are available as single-drug drugs or in combinations, such as with metformin, said the FDA.
How do the infections develop?
Type 2 diabetes occurs when the body can not remove sugar from the bloodstream because the cells do not respond to insulin, the hormone that transports sugar into cells. SGLT2 inhibitors lower blood sugar by getting the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through the urine. This stabilizes the blood sugar level.
So how does this lead to infections? Wherever there is higher blood sugar, there is an increased likelihood of bacterial infection, said Jamie Alan, an assistant professor of pharmacology and toxicology at Michigan State University, SELF said. "We have bacteria everywhere, and one of the foods that bacteria like is [sugar]," Alan said. She explained that eliminating more sugar through the urine means that there is more of the preferred food of bacteria in the genital area, making it a welcoming environment for them.
Bacteria only become a problem if there is an access point. like a small cut from the shave or a skin ulcer near the genitals. And that's exactly what happened, said Adalja SELF. The infections are serious and often require many surgeries to remove all infected tissue, Adalja said. (All 12 patients described in the FDA warning must undergo surgery.)
The FDA warning warns patients who are taking the medicine immediately if they have signs of swelling, itching or genital irritation or fever 100 , 4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) and generally do not feel well. The bacteria that cause necrotizing fasciitis can spread rapidly, so it's important to be treated right away.
But the infections are rare, and it's unwise to take medication without talking to a doctor about it, Alan SELF said. There are other ways to treat type 2 diabetes, but practicing good hygiene can minimize the risk of necrotizing fasciitis
Original article about Live Science.