Diabetes Drugs can Cause Flesh-eating Genital Infections, According to the FDA

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The Food and Drug Administration has announced earlier this week that there are certain medications that are used to treat diabetes which have been linked to causing a rare and potentially deadly form of flesh-eating genital infection.

The drugs affected sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, used to treat type 2 diabetes. From the FDA’s release which occurred this Wednesday, we can see more than a dozen drugs listed which will have to warn of the infection from now on. This includes the Invokana, Jardiance and Farxiga brands.

What prompted this warning is the infection characterized by ‘necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum’ which is also called ‘Fournier’s gangrene’. It represents a rare form of infection which targets the genital region and it has a mortality rate of more than 20 percent. This comes from a study published by ISRN Surgery and US National Library of Medicine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have told us that necrotizing fasciitis is a rare form of bacterial infection which we commonly knew as ‘flesh eating bacteria’ and there have been 12 such cases identified by the FDA in patients treated with an SGLT2 inhibitor over a period of five years.

These cases were identified between March 2013 and May 2018 which is a really big deal, especially when we compare it to the only 6 recorded cases in more than 30 years in patients which took other antidiabetic drug classes.

From these 12 reported cases, all of the patients had to go through surgery, some of them being disfiguring in nature. According to the FDA, one patient has died. The Food and Drug Administration has warned the public and recommended to go to the doctor as soon as possible if we feel “tenderness, redness, or swelling of the genitals or the area from the genitals back to the rectum and have a fever above 100.4 F or a general feeling of being unwell.”


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