The cardiovascular safety trials of DPP-4 inhibitors, GLP-1 agonists, and SGLT2 inhibitors

Matthew H Secrest, Jacob A Udell, Kristian B Filion
Trends in Cardiovascular Medicine 2017, 27 (3): 194-202
In this paper, we review the results of large, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomized trials mandated by the US Food and Drug Administration to examine the cardiovascular safety of newly-approved antihyperglycemic agents in patients with type 2 diabetes. The cardiovascular effects of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors remain controversial: while these drugs did not reduce or increase the risk of primary, pre-specified composite cardiovascular outcomes, one DPP-4 inhibitor (saxagliptin) increased the risk of hospitalization for heart failure in the overall population; another (alogliptin) demonstrated inconsistent effects on heart failure hospitalization across subgroups of patients, and a third (sitagliptin) demonstrated no effect on heart failure. Evidence for cardiovascular benefits of glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) agonists has been similarly heterogeneous, with liraglutide and semaglutide reducing the risk of composite cardiovascular outcomes, but lixisenatide having no reduction or increase in cardiovascular risk. The effect of GLP-1 agonists on retinopathy remains a potential concern. In the only completed trial to date to assess a sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, empagliflozin reduced the risk of composite cardiovascular endpoints, predominantly through its impact on cardiovascular mortality and heart failure hospitalization.

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