Certain Diabetes Meds Related to Flesh-Eating Genital Infection

By Joe Messa

Sep 06

The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced this week that certain drugs used to treat diabetes have recently been linked to cases of a rare, flesh-eating genital infection.

The affected medications are sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, used to treat Type 2 Diabetes. More than a dozen drugs will have to include warnings of this potentially deadly disease, including brand name drugs Invokana, Farxiga, and Jardiance.

The flesh-eating disease referenced in the warnings is “necrotizing fasciitis of the perineum,” also known as “Fournier’s Gangrene.” According to a study published in 2012 by the US National Library of Medicine, Fournier’s Gangrene has a mortality rate of over 20%.

Between March 2013 and May 2018, the FDA identified 12 cases of the flesh-eating disease in patients taking SGLT2 inhibitors. In comparison, there are only six recorded cases in over 30 years among patients taking other classes of antidiabetic drugs. In all of the 12 cases identified between 2013 and 2018, patients required surgery. Some surgeries caused permanent disfigurement, and one patient died.

The FDA urges patients to seek medical treatment if they experience “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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About the Author

Joseph L. Messa, Jr. is the founding partner of Messa & Associates, P.C. He is an AV-rated attorney (highest rating available), listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers. Read More