Necrotizing fasciitis, also known as Fournier's gangrene, is a severe and life-threatening genital flesh infection caused by certain diabetes drugs. Patients taking Type 2 diabetes drugs to lower their blood sugar experience the rare Fournier's gangrene far more commonly than the general public. Identified as a risk by the FDA in 2018, necrotizing fasciitis from 13 different diabetes drugs has led consumers to file product liability litigation lawsuits against drugmakers Eli Lilly / Boehringer Ingelheim, AstraZeneca, Merck, and Janssen / J&J. Attorneys handling diabetes drug infection lawsuits related to diabetes drugs believe persons and the family members of persons who have suffered from Fournier's gangrene may be eligible for significant compensation. This page provides a comprehensive look at necrotizing fasciitis from diabetes drugs.
It is a particular class of diabetes drugs causing necrotizing fasciitis, known as SGLT2 (sodium glucose cotransporter 2) inhibiting drugs. Prescribed to patients suffering from Type 2 diabetes, SGLT2 inhibitors lower the body's blood sugar by making the kidneys remove extra sugar through the urine. There are known risks associated with this drug class, but until recently the risk of severe genital infections from diabetes drugs was unknown. Fourteen medications fall in this class, and thirteen of these diabetes drugs are linked to necrotizing fasciitis:
Necrotizing fasciitis, also commonly known as Fournier's gangrene, is an extremely rare and severe bacterial infection of the genitals and surrounding tissues. Typically, only men are affected by this condition and the FDA has only recorded six cases in the past 30 years.
Necrotizing fasciitis begins when bacteria enter the skin through a cut or break in the tissues. The condition is described as â€œflesh eatingâ€ because any tissues the infection reaches become destroyed. Fournier's gangrene affects the tissues under the skin surrounding the muscles, nerves, fat, and blood vessels of the perineum.
Symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis include tenderness, redness and swelling of the genitals or perineal area, reaching from the genitals back to the rectum. Once infected, a patient with Fournier's gangrene can worsen rapidly. Persons experiencing symptoms of necrotizing fasciitis and suffering from general unwellness and a fever of 100.4 or greater should seek medical attention promptly. Once diagnosed, medical treatment involves a broad-spectrum antibiotic and surgery to cut out infected tissues.
Debridement surgery often leaves patients permanently disfigured. Necrotizing fasciitis may also prompt other life threatening conditions such as acute kidney injury, diabetic ketoacidosis, and septic shock, and may result in death.
The FDA Diabetes Drug Infection Warning was released in August of 2018, naming thirteen Type 2 diabetes drugs as culprits in a recent uptick in cases of Fournier's gangrene. Compared to six cases in thirty years, the FDA has recorded at least 12 cases in just five years, 2013-2018, all in patients taking diabetes drugs on the FDA's list. Where Fournier's gangrene typically affects only men, nearly half of the recent diabetes drug infection cases were women (5 women in 12 cases).
As a result of the FDA diabetes drug infection warning, drugmakers were required to include a Fournier's gangrene warning on diabetes drug labels. Manufacturers argue the drugs offer benefits that outweigh the risk of a flesh-eating genital infection; critics say Type 2 diabetics have other, safer means to control blood sugar levels. The market for SGLT2 inhibiting diabetes drugs is expected to reach $2 billion by 2020, and the four manufacturers implicated in the FDA diabetes drug infection warning have been in aggressive competition to secure market shares.
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