Place of sodium-glucose co-transporter type 2 inhibitors for treatment of type 2 diabetes

Nasser Mikhail
World Journal of Diabetes 2014 December 15, 5 (6): 854-9
Inhibitors of sodium-glucose co-transporter type 2 (SGLT2), such as canagliflozin and dapagliflozin, are recently approved for treatment of type 2 diabetes. These agents lower blood glucose mainly by increasing urinary glucose excretion. Compared with placebo, SGLT2 inhibitors reduce hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) levels by an average of 0.5%-0.8% when used as monotherapy or add-on therapy. Advantages of this drug class include modest weight loss of approximately 2 kg, low risk of hypoglycemia, and decrease blood pressure of approximately 4 mmHg systolic and 2 mmHg diastolic. These characteristics make these agents potential add-on therapy in patients with HbA1c levels close to 7%-8.0%, particularly if these patients are obese, hypertensive, and/or prone for hypoglycemia. Meanwhile, these drugs are limited by high frequency of genital mycotic infections. Less common adverse effects include urinary tract infections, hypotension, dizziness, and worsening renal function. SGLT2 inhibitors should be used with caution in the elderly because of increased adverse effects, and should not be used in chronic kidney disease due to decreased or lack of efficacy and nephrotoxicity. Overall, SGLT2 inhibitors are useful addition for treatment of select groups of patients with type 2 diabetes, but their efficacy and safety need to be established in long-term clinical trials.

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