Effects of exenatide and open-label SGLT2 inhibitor treatment, given in parallel or sequentially, on mortality and cardiovascular and renal outcomes in type 2 diabetes: insights from the EXSCEL trial

Lindsay E Clegg, Robert C Penland, Srinivas Bachina, David W Boulton, Marcus Thuresson, Hiddo J L Heerspink, Stephanie Gustavson, C David Sjöström, James A Ruggles, Adrian F Hernandez, John B Buse, Robert J Mentz, Rury R Holman
Cardiovascular Diabetology 2019 October 22, 18 (1): 138

BACKGROUND: Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RA) improve cardiovascular and renal outcomes in patients with type 2 diabetes through distinct mechanisms. However, evidence on clinical outcomes in patients treated with both GLP-1 RA and SGLT2i is lacking. We aim to provide insight into the effects of open-label SGLT2i use in parallel with or shortly after once-weekly GLP-1 RA exenatide (EQW) on cardiorenal outcomes.

METHODS: In the EXSCEL cardiovascular outcomes trial EQW arm, SGLT2i drop-in occurred in 8.7% of participants. These EQW+SGLT2i users were propensity-matched to: (1) placebo-arm participants not taking SGLT2i (n = 572 per group); and to (2) EQW-arm participants not taking SGLT2i (n = 575), based on their last measured characteristics before SGLT2i initiation, and equivalent study visit in comparator groups. Time-to-first major adverse cardiovascular event (MACE) and all-cause mortality (ACM) were compared using Cox regression analyses. eGFR slopes were quantified using mixed model repeated measurement analyses.

RESULTS: In adjusted analyses, the risk for MACE with combination EQW+SGLT2i use was numerically lower compared with both placebo (adjusted hazard ratio 0.68, 95% CI 0.39-1.17) and EQW alone (0.85, 0.48-1.49). Risk of ACM was nominally significantly reduced compared with placebo (0.38, 0.16-0.90) and compared with EQW (0.41, 0.17-0.95). Combination EQW+SGLT2i use also nominally significantly improved estimated eGFR slope compared with placebo (+ 1.94, 95% CI 0.94-2.94 mL/min/1.73 m2 /year) and EQW alone (+ 2.38, 1.40-3.35 mL/min/1.73 m2 /year).

CONCLUSIONS: This post hoc analysis supports the hypothesis that combinatorial EQW and SGLT2i therapy may provide benefit on cardiovascular outcomes and mortality. Trial registration, Identifying number: NCT01144338, Date of registration: June 15, 2010.

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