Empagliflozin added to metformin and sulfonylurea therapy in patients with sub-optimally controlled type 2 diabetes mellitus

Andrew J Lewin, Juan P Frías
Expert Opinion on Pharmacotherapy 2015, 16 (5): 781-4
The combination of metformin and a sulfonylurea is commonly used in type 2 diabetes mellitus. Many patients on this combination therapy do not achieve or maintain glycemic targets and require the addition of a third antihyperglycemic agent. Among the options are the sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, a recently developed class of medications that effectively improve glycemic control and are associated with reduction in body weight and blood pressure. This article evaluates a 24-week, randomized, placebo-controlled study of the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin, added to metformin plus sulfonylurea regimens. Empagliflozin led to significant reductions in glycated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose, as well as body weight and systolic blood pressure. Adverse events typically recorded with SGLT2 inhibitors were observed; notably, genital infections occurred in more patients on empagliflozin than placebo. Overall, empagliflozin was well tolerated. These results indicate that SGLT2 inhibitors can be successfully added to metformin plus sulfonylurea regimens. SGLT2 inhibitors are not the only therapeutic option in this clinical situation; however, based on the secondary effects observed in this and other studies, they appear to be of particular value for patients who are obese or overweight.

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