Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors and cardiovascular outcomes

Helmut O Steinberg
Postgraduate Medicine 2016, 128 (4): 398-408
Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with an elevated risk of cardiovascular (CV) morbidity and mortality. Furthermore, many patients with T2DM have comorbidities that are risk factors for CV disease. While intensive glucose control reduces the risk of diabetic microvascular complications, its relationship to CV outcomes remains unclear. Consequently, the management of CV risk factors in patients with T2DM is complex, and factors other than blood glucose must be considered. Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, a class of oral glucose-lowering agents, are associated with reductions in blood pressure and body weight, in addition to decreasing hyperglycemia, and therefore have the potential to reduce CV risk in patients with T2DM. The clinical trial results of SGLT2 inhibitors regarding CV safety and outcomes are discussed, including data from the recently published EMPA-REG OUTCOME study. This trial was the first dedicated CV outcomes study to demonstrate that a glucose-lowering agent lowered CV mortality and all-cause mortality, and reduced hospitalization for heart failure in patients with T2DM at high risk of CV events.

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