Heart Failure Background
Heart failure is a serious type of health condition that is characterized by symptoms such as shortness of breath and/or swelling of the ankles, legs, or other extremities. People with heart failure might be short of breath with activity, or even while lying down. This happens because the heart is not pumping as well as it should and leads to fluid backing up on the lungs or in other areas of your body. It is important to seek medical help if you are experiencing signs or symptoms of heart failure.
There are some ways to help heart failure without medications, like improving diet, reducing sodium (salt) intake, losing weight, and increasing exercise. It can also help to prevent and control health conditions that lead to heart failure, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and coronary artery disease. However, most people with heart failure require some sort of medication treatment. The medications we use to treat heart failure are aimed at improving quality of life and symptoms, decreasing hospitalizations, and prolonging life.
What is Jardiance & how does it work in heart failure?
Jardiance (empagliflozin) is a part of a drug class called SGLT-2 (sodium-glucose cotransporter-2) Inhibitors. The medication has historically been used to treat diabetes by acting on the kidneys to help get rid of sugar in the blood through the urine. More recently, though, it has been studied for use in heart failure. It is thought that Jardiance helps in heart failure by making it easier for the heart to fill with blood and pump it through the body. In the drug studies, it proved to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death and reduce heart failure related hospitalizations. Because of these studies, the FDA (Food and Drug Administration) has granted it approval for use in heart failure in addition to diabetes. In February of 2022, the FDA expanded the approval to make Jardiance a treatment option for an even wider range of people with heart failure to now include all types of heart failure.
Jardiance is taken as one pill, once a day in the morning. It is generally well-tolerated. You may notice you urinate more frequently while taking Jardiance. However, like most medications, there have been cases of some serious side effects. Because Jardiance increases the concentration of sugar in the urine, it may make you more prone to urinary tract infections. Some of these infections can be very serious and have led to hospitalization. Also due to the way the medication works, it can lead to dehydration, especially in older people and people taking other medications that increase the risk of dehydration.
Speak with your doctor or pharmacist to find out if adding Jardiance to your heart failure regimen would be right for you. Based on the research, Jardiance can improve outcomes in people with heart failure.