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Considerations for Initiating a Sodium-Glucose Co-Transporter 2 Inhibitor in Adults With Type 2 Diabetes Using Insulin

Vincent C Woo, Lori D Berard, Harpreet S Bajaj, Jean-Marie Ekoé, Peter A Senior
Canadian Journal of Diabetes 2018, 42 (1): 88-93
In order to meet and maintain glycemic control, pharmacological management of individuals with type 2 diabetes typically begins with metformin followed by the introduction of other oral antihyperglycemic agents as needed. In some patients, the aggressive and progressive degeneration of pancreatic β cell activity means insulin therapy will become a given. The need to routinely monitor blood glucose levels coupled with the undesirable effects associated with insulin-primarily hypoglycemia and weight gain-commonly contribute to physician and patient inertia. The new β-cell-independent sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are approved for combination use with all of the currently approved oral and injectable antihyperglycemic classes. The addition of SGLT2 inhibitors to background insulin therapy has the potential to afford many benefits and, in some cases, may reduce the incidence of insulin-associated side effects. This article reviews the available literature on SGLT2 inhibitor-insulin combination therapy and underscores the issues that should be considered prior to introducing SGLT2 inhibitors to individuals with type 2 diabetes who are already on insulin (with or without other antihyperglycemic agents) to ensure individualization of therapy.


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