Type 2 diabetes affects about 24 million people and accounts for more than 90 percent of diabetes cases diagnosed in the United States. Over time, high blood sugar levels can increase the risk for serious complications, including heart disease, blindness, and nerve and kidney damage.
“Controlling blood sugar levels is very important in the overall treatment and care of diabetes, and Farxiga provides an additional treatment option for millions of Americans with type 2 diabetes,” said Curtis Rosebraugh, M.D., M.P.H., director of the Office of Drug Evaluation II in the FDA’s Center for Drug Evaluation and Research.
Farxiga is a sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor that blocks the reabsorption of glucose by the kidney, increases glucose excretion, and lowers blood glucose levels. The drug’s safety and effectiveness were evaluated in 16 clinical trials involving more than 9,400 patients with type 2 diabetes. The trials showed improvement in HbA1c (hemoglogin A1c or glycosylated hemoglobin, a measure of blood sugar control).
Farxiga has been studied as a stand-alone therapy and in combination with other type 2 diabetes therapies including metformin, pioglitazone, glimepiride, sitagliptin, and insulin. Farxiga should not be used to treat people with type 1 diabetes; those who have increased ketones in their blood or urine (diabetic ketoacidosis); or those with moderate or severe renal impairment, end stage renal disease, or patients on dialysis.
An increased number of bladder cancers were diagnosed among Farxiga users in clinical trials so Farxiga is not recommended for patients with active bladder cancer. Patients with a history of bladder cancer should talk to their physician before using Farxiga. Farxiga can cause dehydration, leading to a drop in blood pressure (hypotension) that can result in dizziness and/or fainting and a decline in renal function. The elderly, patients with impaired renal function, and patients on diuretics to treat other conditions appeared to be more susceptible to this risk.
The FDA is requiring six post-marketing studies for Farxiga:
- a cardiovascular outcomes trial (CVOT) to evaluate the cardiovascular risk of Farxiga in patients with high baseline risk of cardiovascular disease;
- a double-blind, randomized, controlled assessment of bladder cancer risk in patients enrolled in the CVOT;
- an animal study evaluating the role of Farxiga-induced urinary flow/rate and composition changes on bladder tumor promotion in rodents;
- two clinical trials to assess the pharmacokinetics, efficacy, and safety in pediatric patients; and
- an enhanced pharmacovigilance program to monitor reports of liver abnormalities and pregnancy outcomes.
In clinical trials the most common side effects observed in patients treated with Farxiga were genital mycotic (fungal) infections and urinary tract infections.
Farxiga is marketed by Bristol-Meyers Squibb Company, Princeton, N.J. and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals L.P., Wilmington, Del.
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