SGLT2-inhibitors: a novel class for the treatment of type 2 diabetes introduction of SGLT2-inhibitors in clinical practice

J Cuypers, C Mathieu, K Benhalima
Acta Clinica Belgica 2013, 68 (4): 287-93
Treatment of type 2 diabetes (T2DM) continues to present challenges, with significant proportion of patients failing to achieve and maintain glycemic targets. Despite the availability of many oral antidiabetic agents, therapeutic efficacy is offset by side effects such as weight gain and hypoglycemia. Therefore, the search for novel therapeutic agents with an improved benefit-risk profile continues. Recent research has focused on the kidney as a potential therapeutic target, especially because maximal renal glucose reabsorption is increased in T2DM. Under normal physiological conditions, nearly all filtered glucose is reabsorbed in the proximal tubule of the nephron, principally via the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2). SGLT2-inhibitors are a new class of oral antidiabetics, which reduce hyperglycemia by increasing urinary glucose excretion independently of insulin secretion or action. Clinical results are promising with significant lowering of HbA1c without increased risk of hypoglycemia, reduction of body weight and reduction of systolic blood pressure. Dapagliflozin is the first highly selective SGLT2-inhibitor approved by the European Medecine Agency. Canagliflozin and empagliflozin are undergoing phase III trials. Actual safety issues are an increased risk for genital- and urinary tract infections and a possible increased risk for bladder and breast cancer. This led to refusal of dapagliflozin by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). A large randomized control trial is therefore warranted by the FDA. This review provides an overview of the current evidence available so far on the therapeutic potential of the SGLT2-inhibitors for the treatment of T2DM.

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