Pharmacokinetics, Pharmacodynamics and Clinical Use of SGLT2 Inhibitors in Patients with Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Chronic Kidney Disease

André J Scheen
Clinical Pharmacokinetics 2015, 54 (7): 691-708
Inhibitors of sodium-glucose cotransporters type 2 (SGLT2) are proposed as a novel approach for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus. SGLT2 cotransporters are responsible for reabsorption of 90 % of the glucose filtered by the kidney. The glucuretic effect resulting from SGLT2 inhibition contributes to reduce hyperglycaemia and also assists weight loss and blood pressure reduction. Several SGLT2 inhibitors are already available in many countries (dapagliflozin, canagliflozin, empagliflozin) and in Japan (ipragliflozin, tofogliflozin). These SGLT2 inhibitors share similar pharmacokinetic characteristics with a rapid oral absorption, a long elimination half-life allowing once-daily administration, an extensive hepatic metabolism mainly via glucuronidation to inactive metabolites and a low renal elimination as a parent drug. Pharmacokinetic parameters are slightly altered in the case of chronic kidney disease (CKD). While no dose adjustment is required in the case of mild CKD, SGLT2 inhibitors may not be used or only at a lower daily dose in patients with moderate CKD. Furthermore, the pharmacodynamic response to SGLT2 inhibitors as assessed by urinary glucose excretion declines with increasing severity of renal impairment as assessed by a reduction in the estimated glomerular filtration rate. Nevertheless, the glucose-lowering efficacy and safety of SGLT2 inhibitors are almost comparable in patients with mild CKD as in patients with normal kidney function. In patients with moderate CKD, the efficacy tends to be dampened and safety concerns may occur. In patients with severe CKD, the use of SGLT2 inhibitors is contraindicated. Thus, prescribing information should be consulted regarding dosage adjustments or restrictions in the case of renal dysfunction for each SGLT2 inhibitor. The clinical impact of SGLT2 inhibitors on renal function and their potential to influence the course of diabetic nephropathy deserve attention because of preliminary favourable results in animal models.

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