I’ve heard that SGLT2 inhibitors can cause kidney failure; should I be worried?

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Q: I’ve heard that SGLT2 inhibitors can cause kidney failure; should I be worried?

A: New information suggests that taking SGLT2 inhibitors over a long period of time can actually help prevent kidney disease. However, since this type of medication works in the kidney, which controls the body’s fluids, it may increase the risk of kidney damage when you first start taking it. There is a greater chance of this happening if you are dehydrated (have lower than normal body fluid), have chronic kidney disease or congestive heart failure, or use certain other medications like diuretics (eg, furosemide), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (eg, lisinopril), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs; eg, losartan, valsartan), and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs; eg, ibuprofen, naproxen). Sometimes, you need to take a medication that increases the chance of kidney damage. It is important to discuss this possible side effect with your healthcare provider and diabetes educator. You’ll need kidney tests before starting a SGLT2 inhibitor and during treatment.

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