In the US alone, as many as 38 million people suffer from diabetes, representing about 10 percent of the population. Of this 38 million, roughly 90 to 95 percent of people have type 2 diabetes. With the overwhelming incidence of type 2 diabetes, effective medications are essential to managing diabetes and presenting downstream complications. Farxiga and Jardiance are two such medications that have proven to be efficacious antidiabetic drugs.

What is type 2 diabetes?

Type 2 diabetes involves dysregulation of a hormone known as insulin. The pancreas produces insulin to help regulate blood sugar levels throughout the body. With type 2 diabetes, the body either doesn’t make enough insulin or doesn’t respond appropriately to insulin, known as insulin resistance. Consequently, diabetes causes elevated blood sugar levels, which over time can cause several complications. Uncontrolled blood sugars over prolonged periods are associated with issues such as heart disease, nerve problems, kidney disease, vision loss, and more.

How is diabetes treated?

Managing your diabetes involves a holistic approach, likely incorporating a healthy diet, exercise, medication, insulin, and blood sugar monitoring. Medication is a mainstay of managing diabetes, and it can do wonders when it comes to controlling blood sugar levels. Two important antidiabetic agents include Farxiga and Jardiance.

What are Farxiga and Jardiance?

Farxiga and Jardiance are two medications indicated for the treatment of type 2 diabetes. They belong to the class of medications known as sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors. Via their mechanism, they block a protein in the body known as SGLT-2. In inhibiting this enzyme, it helps the kidneys reabsorb sugar from the blood. As a result, sugar is removed from the body and passed through the urine, lowering blood sugar levels.

Although these two medications share the same mechanism, they contain different active ingredients. Thus, they differ slightly with regards to their safety, efficacy, price, and more. Let’s review key similarities and differences between the two medications.

Farxiga versus Jardiance

Ingredients

Farxiga is the brand name for the active ingredient dapagliflozin, while Jardiance is the brand name for the active ingredient empagliflozin. Dapagliflozin and empagliflozin sound similar because they both belong to the SGLT-2 inhibitor class.

Indication

As aforementioned, both Farxiga and Jardiance are approved for the treatment of diabetes in addition to diet and exercise to improve blood sugar control. Both Farxiga and Jardiance were approved for this indication in 2014.

Though both medications can treat diabetes, they have also both been approved for additional indications. These indications include:

  • To lower hospitalization risk for heart failure in those with type 2 diabetes and either cardiovascular disease or several cardiovascular risk factors
  • To lower risk of cardiovascular hospitalization and death in individuals with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction

Based on these two additional indications, you can see that Farxiga and Jardiance both have beneficial cardiovascular effects, meaning they support the health of your heart.

Dosing

One way in which Farxiga and Jardiance differ is with regard to their dosing. Because they contain different active ingredients, their dose is going to vary. However, both medications are available as an oral tablets that is taken once daily.

Farxiga is available in 5 and 10 mg tablets. For type 2 diabetes, it is recommended to start at a 5 mg dose once daily taken in the morning. The dose can be further increased to 10 mg once daily in those who need more blood sugar control who can tolerate the 5 mg dose. In those with type 2 diabetes with heart failure, the suggested dose is 10 mg once daily.

Alternatively, Jardiance is available as 10 and 25 mg tablets. The suggested dose is 10 mg once daily taken in the morning with or without regard to food. However, if individuals require further blood sugar control, the dose can be increased to 25 mg.

Efficacy

When comparing the two drugs, what we all care about most is how well they’re going to work. Both Farxiga and Jardiance have proven to be efficacious in lowering blood sugar levels and helping to manage diabetes, but how do they compare to one another?

One study aimed to answer this question, comparing Farxiga and Jardiance in a head-to-head clinical study. The trial was conducted over 52 weeks in type 2 diabetes patients. Subjects were randomized to receive either 25 mg daily of Jardiance or 10 mg daily of Farxiga. The investigators measured key diabetes parameters such as HbA1c, fasting plasma glucose (FPG), cardiometabolic values, and safety.

After the completion of the 52 weeks in 350 patients, results indicated that both groups demonstrated significant decreases in HbA1c, FPG, blood pressure, cholesterol, and body weight. However, reductions in HbA1c and FPG were more in the Jardiance group, meaning that Jardiance may be more effective than Farxiga in controlling blood sugar levels.

Side effects

Another aspect to think about before starting any new medication is the drug’s potential to cause side effects. Like any other medications, both Farxiga and Jardiance can cause side effects. Common side effects observed in clinical trials with both drugs are outlined in the below table.

Farxiga

Jardiance

  • Back pain
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nausea
  • Flu
  • Common cold
  • Constipation
  • Pain in the extremity
  • Discomfort during urination
  • Genital infections
  • Increased urination
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Nausea
  • Genital infections
  • Increased urination
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Upper respiratory tract infections
  • Arthralgia

As you can tell from the table, there is a lot of overlap with regard to what side effects you may experience with both medications. For example, both can cause nausea, infections, and dyslipidemia. However, Farxiga tends to demonstrate more side effects than Jardiance.

In addition to their potential for causing common side effects, both medications run the risk of more serious adverse effects. These more serious issues are very similar for both drugs and are as follows:

  • Low blood sugar
  • Genital infections
  • Allergic reactions
  • Life-threatening infections
  • Ketoacidosis
  • Volume depletion

Cost

The cost of each of these medications will vary depending on whether the medication is covered by your insurance or not. Additionally, the price might vary at different pharmacies. However, according to GoodRx, the price of the Farxiga out-of-pocket ranges between around $200 to $500. Alternatively, the price of Jardiance out-of-pocket is closer to $600. Thus, Farxiga may end up being a bit cheaper than Jardiance if you are paying without insurance.

Side-by-side comparison

To understand big picture how Farxiga and Jardiance measure up to one another, the below table compares key elements of each medication.

Farxiga

Jardiance

Active ingredient

Dapagliflozin

Empagliflozin

FDA-approved indication
  • Control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus adjunct to diet and exercise
  • Lower hospitalization risk for heart failure in those with type 2 diabetes and either cardiovascular disease or several cardiovascular risk factors
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular hospitalization and death for individuals with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction
  • Control blood sugar in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus adjunct to diet and exercise
  • Lower hospitalization risk for heart failure in those with type 2 diabetes and either cardiovascular disease or several cardiovascular risk factors
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular hospitalization and death for individuals with heart failure and reduced ejection fraction
AgesAdultsAdults
MechanismSGLT-2 inhibitorSGLT-2 inhibitor
AdministrationOral tablet administered once daily

Available as 5 and 10 mg strengths

Oral tablet administered once daily

Available as 10 and 25 mg strengths

DosingType 2 diabetes: 5 to 10 mg once daily taken in the morning

Heart failure: 10 mg once daily

10 to 25 mg once daily taken in the morning with or without regards to food
Common side effectsBack pain, urinary tract infections, nausea, flu, common cold, constipation, pain in the extremity, discomfort during urination, genital infections, increased urination, dyslipidemiaUrinary tract infections, nausea, genital infections, increased urination, dyslipidemia, upper respiratory tract infections, arthralgia
Serious adverse effectsLow blood sugar, genital infections, allergic reactions, life-threatening infections, ketoacidosis, volume depletionLow blood sugar, genital infections, allergic reactions, life-threatening infections, ketoacidosis, volume depletion
Price without insurance~$200 to $500~$600
EfficacyIn a head-to-head clinical trial, reductions in HbA1c and FPG were greater in the Jardiance group versus Farxiga

So, which medication should you take? Although you may be leaning towards one medication or the other based on the above information, you should always consult with your doctor. A licensed healthcare professional will be able to prescribe you a diabetes medication that is right for you. In doing so, they’ll do a careful review of your medical history, preferences, and the state of your diabetes to determine which medication is the right fit.

Conclusion

In summary, Farxiga and Jardiance are two SGLT-2 inhibitors that are efficacious for both diabetes and heart failure. Though the two medications share many similarities, they do differ slightly with regard to their active ingredient, dosing, efficacy, side effects, and price. Your healthcare provider will be able to determine which one is best for you and your diabetes.