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Know the Side Effects of the Drugs You Prescribe

Jul 20, 2021

When you prescribe a new diabetes medication, keep the side effects in mind.

Male, 72 years of age, type 2, insulin-requiring diabetes, also taking SGLT-2. Annual physical. No urinary complaints during the visit. Received annual lab work end of the workday, glucose elevated much higher than the reports. WBC elevated, 1200, no urine culture, but U/A did show cloudy, leukocyte esterase 2+, WBC >60 H, bacteria many (>50) H, RBC 3-10, H. 


Knowing the patient could not get to the lab for urine culture increased the risk for sepsis. I called the patient, prescribed an antibiotic, and discontinued SGLT-2. The patient said he recently noticed increased nocturia. He was going to the urologist to check that out the next day. I spoke with the patient the next day; the urologist agreed with antibiotic orders and prescribed an alpha-blocker for BPH. 

Lessons Learned: 

  • Importance of knowing and being aware of side effects of certain medications when you prescribe, such as an increase in UTI risk when taking SGLT-2 inhibitors. Stop if suspect UTI. 
  • Although best to get a urine culture before treating UTI, sometimes not always possible to either obtain or get results promptly. 
  • People with diabetes do not always have the typical symptoms of UTI. Look at the whole picture and treat. Antibiotic therapy is better than sepsis!                             



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