Another tool for better blood sugar control is always a welcome addition. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has recently approved a new glucose-lowering drug for people with type 2 diabetes. And it works when you go to the bathroom.

Empagliflozin helps the body to reduce blood sugar levels by increasing the amount of glucose that is excreted in the urine. It belongs to a class of drugs called sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.

How Empagliflozin Works

Blood glucose, also called blood sugar, is sugar in the bloodstream that comes from carbohydrates in the food we eat. Normally, insulin enables the body’s cells to use that sugar for energy. But in people with diabetes, the body is unable to make enough insulin or use it properly. That means some of the sugar in your bloodstream has nowhere to go – resulting in dangerous high blood sugar levels that people with diabetes are warned about.

The kidneys work around the clock to filter waste from your blood. SGLT2 inhibitors enable them to remove excess sugar from your blood and send it to your bladder where it will be eliminated.

Who it can help

Empagliflozin has been approved for treating adults with type 2 diabetes, and is to be taken while also following your doctor’s diet and exercise recommendations – keystones of good diabetes care. It may be taken by itself or together with other diabetes medications. It is not approved for patients with type 1 diabetes, or for those with diabetic ketoacidosis or certain kidney disorders.

Approval of empagliflozin comes following successful clinical trials involving thousands of patients. Other previously approved drugs in this class include canagliflozin (Invokana) and dapagliflozin (Farxiga).

All new drugs may or may not offer meaningful advantages over older, well-proven medications that are often less expensive. Talk with your doctor about which treatment options are most appropriate for you.

Learn more about oral diabetes medications:

Can Diabetes Pills Help Me?
Metformin: Side Effects and Precautions
Glipizide: Side Effects and Precautions