The drug Glyxambi is used in conjunction with exercise and diet to control type 2 diabetes. It is linked to the life-threatening blood condition ketoacidosis.

Glyxambi, a type 2 diabetes medication using empagliflozin and linagliptin, is manufactured by Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI) and Eli Lilly and Co. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Glyxambi for use in the U.S. in January 2015. The drug is the first approved drug on the market to combine a sodium glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor and a dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor.

This revolutionary medicine has no competitors or generic alternatives on the market, as it is a new drug. Glyxambi is used to control blood sugar levels in type 2 diabetics and is taken orally. It combines a 10mg or 25 mg dosage of empagliflozin and a 5mg dosage of linagliptin into one pill, which is taken once a day. The drug works by helping the body absorb less sugar and dispose of more sugar through the urine.

Glyxambi was proved safe in a fifty-two week clinical trial. However, there are a number of side effects associated with it, some of them very serious. Still, the drug is useful in controlling blood sugar for type 2 diabetes and there is no other drug that combines these diabetes medications.

Uses of Glyxambi

Glyxambi is used only to treat type 2 diabetes. It cannot be used to treat type 1 diabetes or diabetic ketoacidosis.

Type 2 diabetes is characterized by symptoms such as:

  • Pancreas does not produce enough insulin
  • Body is unable to process insulin effectively
  • Increased thirst
  • Increased urination
  • Fatigue
  • Nausea, possibly accompanied by vomiting
  • Dry mouth
  • Blurred vision

Common Side Effects of Glyxambi

Most patients who used Glyxambi achieved the goal of balancing their blood sugar levels. During the fifty-two week trial, hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) occurred in patients less than 4-percent of the time. Still, there are many side effects to Glyxambi, some of them very serious, including:

  • Low blood sugar (hypoglycemia)
  • Urinary tract infection
  • Allergic reaction
  • Kidney problems
  • Increased cholesterol
  • Runny nose
  • Sore throat
  • Upper respiratory infection
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Dehydration
  • Yeast infection of the vagina or penis

It is not known yet if patients who had a history of pancreatitis were at an increased risk to develop it again if they took Glyxambi. The risk of taking the drug to control blood sugar for pregnant women who are diabetic is also not known. However, a serious link was found between taking the drug and developing diabetic ketoacidosis.

Other Precautions When Taking Glyxambi

The manufacturer, Boehringer Ingelheim, notes that patients on dialysis or with other severe kidney problems should not use Glyxambi. In addition to this, patients who are known to be allergic to any of the ingredients in the drug—particularly the active ingredients of empagliflozin and linagliptin—should never take it. When an allergic reaction occurs, patients should stop the usage of Glyxambi immediately.

Glyxambi and Ketoacidosis

Ketoacidosis is a diabetic condition where ketones, acid the body produces when it burns fat for energy, are too concentrated in a person’s blood stream. This is typically a sign that blood sugar levels are out of control and can lead to a diabetic coma or even death. The FDA reported 20 patients who developed this condition after they began to take Glyxambi. Lawsuits are currently being filed against Glyxambi due to cases where the drug caused an outbreak of ketoacidosis.