Type 2 diabetes may not be as dreaded as pancreatic cancer which researchers are trying to combat with a new drug called Metavert but it can still wreak havoc on your health. However, unlike cancer, lifestyle changes can be enough to put type 2 diabetes under control. In severe cases, insulin injections or oral medications are used.
The insulin injections and oral medications used are of different types and patients are mostly not informed of their side effects. However, I was shocked to learn recently that some of the medications used for the treatment of type 2 diabetes have been associated with a rare form of potentially fatal flesh-eating genital infection.
The information was contained in a recent release by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). More than a dozen drugs were implicated with the potential to cause the flesh-eating genital infection and manufacturers are asked to include the warning in the label of the product. The drugs work by altering the sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor.
How Serious Is The Flesh-Eating Genital Infection?
When I got this information, I was curious to find out how serious a problem it was and if possible the level of mortality involved and how much worried we should be. First, the infection is what is known as ‘Fournier’s gangrene’. It is very rare and affects the genital region. However, according to a study released in 2012 by the US National Library of Medicine and ISRN Surgery, this infection leads to as much as 20 percent mortality.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum is caused by bacteria. The warning was issued after a dozen cases were reported among patients using SGLT2 inhibitors over a period of 5 years—from March 2013 to May 2018.
It was a source of worry because, in the last 30 years, there have been only 6 recorded cases among patients using other forms of antidiabetic drugs and these other cases in the past has only been on men.
The current case of 12 patients comprised of 7 men and 5 women. The patients were hospitalized and later underwent surgery to deal with the condition. One of the patients died in the process. It is possible that more cases would be out there but they would probably be uncovered only after we have a better understanding of the risk.
Drugs Implicated With The Disease
The drugs affected by the warning include Eli Lilly & Co.’s Jardiance, AstraZeneca Plc’s Farxiga, and Johnson & Johnson’s Invokana. These drugs were approved in 2016, 2013, and 2013 respectively. The drugs lower the level of blood sugar through the kidney by inducing the excretion of the excess sugar through the urine of the patients.
Like I mentioned before, it is possible that there may be other drugs out there with similar negative impact on the health of patients suffering from type 2 diabetes but we can only identify them with a better understanding of the condition. A well-known side effect is Urinary tract infection.