Cardioprotective diabetes drugs: what cardiologists need to know

Jenifer M Brown, Brendan M Everett
Cardiovascular endocrinology & metabolism 2019, 8 (4): 96-105
In patients with diabetes, where cardiovascular morbidity is highly prevalent, recent cardiovascular outcomes trials have identified therapies in the modern glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) and sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitor (SGLT2i) classes that significantly reduce cardiovascular events. A number of drugs in both classes have demonstrated reductions in the risk of the composite outcome of major adverse cardiovascular events (myocardial infarction, stroke, and cardiovascular death). In addition, SGLT2i drugs have a substantial impact on hospitalization for heart failure. Because GLP-1RA and SGLT2i are effective in reducing cardiovascular events, independent of their effects on blood glucose, cardiologists should be familiar with how to use them. This review outlines the evidence of cardiovascular benefit for current GLP-1RA and SGLT2i drugs, practical information for prescribing them, and putative mechanisms, so that these therapies can be incorporated along with antihypertensives, statins, and antiplatelet therapies into the routine care of patients.

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