Common Diabetes Drugs May Elevate Risk of Severe COVID Complications

According to a recently released study, a common class of diabetes medications can put individuals diagnosed with COVID-19 at greater risk of fatal complications from the disease.

Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i), including Jardiance (empagliflozin) and Invokana (canagliflozin), help treat diabetes by making patients urinate out glucose. However, these drugs can also put people at risk for diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), a condition in which there is not enough insulin to allow cells to absorb glucose from the bloodstream.

The study, published in the journal AACE Clinical Case Reports, found that the chances of developing DKA increased in people who became ill with COVID-19. The researchers explained that when the body cannot use glucose for energy, it begins to break down fat as fuel instead, causing high levels of acids called ketones in the blood, as well as extremely high concentrations of sugar in typical DKA.

High levels of ketones poison the body, causing headaches, nausea, vomiting, difficulty breathing, and confusion. A person’s breath also can start to smell fruity. If left untreated, DKA can be fatal.

As reported in the study, five unusual cases of DKA in COVID-19 patients involved euglycemic DKA (euDKA), a type of diabetic ketoacidosis that is more difficult to diagnose because it develops in people who don’t have severely elevated blood sugar levels.

Since SGLT2i drugs can cause people to become dehydrated through urination, and the combined glucose decrease and water loss are probably both important factors in causing euDKA, the researchers said.

Diabetes Significantly Increases the Risk Of Serious Complications Or Death From COVID-19

This study comes after other studies have concluded that patients with COVID-19 and diabetes typically have a more dire prognosis, most likely because of the concurring effect of multiple risk factors associated with diabetes.

If you have diabetes, effectively managing your blood sugar levels is one of the most important things you can do to lower your risk of getting severely ill from COVID-19.  Fortunately, advancements in glucose monitoring technology have made controlling your glucose levels easier than ever.

Traditional glucose monitoring involves pricking a finger multiple times a day to get and test blood samples, an inconvenient and uncomfortable burden. Now, Continuous Glucose Monitoring (CGM) allows those with diabetes to avoid the finger-pricking through the use of a tested, approved, and easy-to-use transceiver device.

Whether you’ve been living with diabetes for years or if you’ve recently been on the lookout for the latest trends that can help beneficially impact your health, CGM could be the ideal solution. Contact us today to see if you qualify for CGM and access our guide to continuous glucose monitoring.


If you are not insured, or have a high deductible health insurance plan, you can still purchase the Freestyle Libre Reader and Sensors at extremely competitive prices. Prices starting as low as $99 per month

*Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings when you suspect readings may be in accurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

Reference 1: Data on file. Abbott Diabetes Care. 2, FreeStyle Libre 14 day User’s Manual

Indications and Important Safety Information

FreeStyle Libre and FreeStyle Libre 14 day Flash Glucose Monitoring systems are continuous glucose monitoring (CGM) devices indicated for replacing blood glucose testing and detecting trends and tracking patterns aiding in the detection of episodes of hyperglycemia and hypoglycemia, facilitating both acute and long-term therapy adjustments in persons (age 18 and older) with diabetes. The systems are intended for single patient use and require a prescription.

CONTRAINDICATIONS: Remove the sensor before MRI, CT scan, X-ray, or diathermy treatment.

WARNINGS/LIMITATIONS: Do not ignore symptoms that may be due to low or high blood glucose, hypoglycemic unawareness, or dehydration. Check sensor glucose readings with a blood glucose meter when Check Blood Glucose symbol appears, when symptoms do not match system readings, or when readings are suspected to be inaccurate. The system does not have alarms unless the sensor is scanned, and the system contains small parts that may be dangerous if swallowed. The system is not approved for pregnant women, persons on dialysis, or critically-ill population. Sensor placement is not approved for sites other than the back of the arm and standard precautions for transmission of blood borne pathogens should be taken. The built-in blood glucose meter is not for use on dehydrated, hypotensive, in shock, hyperglycemic-hyperosmolar state, with or without ketosis, neonates, critically-ill patients, or for diagnosis or screening of diabetes. When using FreeStyle LibreLink app, access to a blood glucose monitoring system is required as the app does not provide one. Review all product information before use or contact Abbott Toll Free (855-632-8658) or visit for detailed indications for use and safety information.html. . FreeStyle, Libre, and related brand marks are trademarks of Abbott Diabetes Care Inc. in various jurisdictions. Other trademarks are the property of their respective owners. ©2018 Abbott. ADC-09691 vLO 10/18

*The FreeStyle LibreLink app and the FreeStyle Libre 14 day reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol, when symptoms do not match system readings, when you suspect readings may be inaccurate, or when you experience symptoms that may be due to high or low blood glucose.

The FreeStyle Libre 2 app and the FreeStyle Libre 2 reader have similar but not identical features. Fingersticks are required for treatment decisions when you see Check Blood Glucose symbol and when your glucose alarms and readings from the system do not match symptoms or expectations

‡‡‡Based on the sensor being replaced once every 14 days, and scanned at least once every 8 hours.

§§§Glucose readings are not available during 1-hour warm-up, when sensor is too hot or too cold, when you see an error or "LO" or "HI" message, or no current glucose reading