Impact of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors on blood pressure

James W Reed
Vascular Health and Risk Management 2016, 12: 393-405
SGLT2 inhibitors are glucose-lowering agents used to treat type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). These agents target the kidney to promote urinary glucose excretion, resulting in improved blood glucose control. SGLT2-inhibitor therapy is also associated with weight loss and blood pressure (BP) lowering. Hypertension is a common comorbidity in patients with T2DM, and is associated with excess morbidity and mortality. This review summarizes data on the effect of SGLT2 inhibitors marketed in the US (namely canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, or empagliflozin) on BP in patients with T2DM. Boolean searches were conducted that included terms related to BP or hypertension with terms for SGLT2 inhibitors, canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, or empagliflozin using PubMed, Google, and Google Scholar. Data from numerous randomized controlled trials of SGLT2 inhibitors in patients with T2DM demonstrated clinically relevant reductions in both systolic and diastolic BP, assessed via seated office measurements and 24-hour ambulatory BP monitoring. Observed BP lowering was not associated with compensatory increases in heart rate. Circadian BP rhythm was also maintained. The mechanism of SGLT2 inhibitor-associated BP reduction is not fully understood, but is assumed to be related to osmotic diuresis and natriuresis. Other factors that may also contribute to BP reduction include SGLT2 inhibitor-associated decreases in body weight and reduced arterial stiffness. Local inhibition of the renin-angiotensin-aldosterone system secondary to increased delivery of sodium to the juxtaglomerular apparatus during SGLT2 inhibition has also been postulated. Although SGLT2 inhibitors are not indicated as BP-lowering agents, the modest decreases in systolic and diastolic BP observed with SGLT2 inhibitors may provide an extra clinical advantage for the majority of patients with T2DM, in addition to improving blood glucose control.

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