Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibition for the reduction of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients with diabetes mellitus

Nikolaus Marx, Darren K McGuire
European Heart Journal 2016 November 7, 37 (42): 3192-3200
Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) exhibit an increased risk for cardiovascular (CV) events. Hyperglycaemia itself contributes to the pathogenesis of atherosclerosis and heart failure (HF) in these patients, but glucose-lowering strategies studied to date have had little to no impact on reducing CV risk, especially in patients with a long duration of T2D and prevalent CV disease (CVD). Sodium glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a novel class of anti-hyperglycaemic medications that increase urinary glucose excretion, thus improving glycaemic control independent of insulin. The recently published CV outcome trial, EMPA-REG OUTCOME, demonstrated in 7020 patients with T2D and prevalent CVD that the SGLT2-inhibitor empagliflozin significantly reduced the combined CV endpoint of CV death, non-fatal myocardial infarction, and non-fatal stroke vs. placebo in a population of patients with T2D and prevalent atherosclerotic CVD. In addition and quite unexpectedly, empagliflozin significantly and robustly reduced the individual endpoints of CV death, overall mortality, and hospitalization for HF in this high-risk population. Various factors beyond glucose control such as weight loss, blood pressure lowering and sodium depletion, renal haemodynamic effects, effects on myocardial energetics, and/or neurohormonal effects, among others may contribute to these beneficial effects of SGLT2-inhibition. The present review summarizes known and postulated effects of SGLT2-inhibition on the CV system and discusses the role of SGLT2-inhibition for the treatment of high-risk patients with T2D and CVD.

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