JOURNAL ARTICLE
REVIEW

SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists: established and emerging indications

Emily Brown, Hiddo J L Heerspink, Daniel J Cuthbertson, John P H Wilding
Lancet 2021 June 30
34216571
SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists are used in patients with type 2 diabetes as glucose lowering therapies, with additional benefits of weight loss and blood pressure reduction. Data from cardiovascular outcome trials have highlighted that these drugs confer protection against major cardiovascular disease in those with established atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease, reduce the risk of admission to hospital for heart failure, and reduce cardiovascular and all-cause mortality. Ongoing research using hard renal endpoints such as end stage kidney disease rather than surrogate markers might clarify the renoprotective benefits of both agents. When used for glucose lowering, SGLT2 inhibitors are most effective if the estimated glomerular filtration rate is more than 60 ml per min per 1·73m2 at initiation and should be avoided where there is a risk of diabetic ketoacidosis. GLP-1 receptor agonists are contraindicated in those with a history of medullary thyroid cancer and used with caution in patients with a history of pancreatitis of a known cause. These drugs are now second-line, or even arguably first-line, glucose lowering therapies in patients with cardiorenal disease, irrespective of glycaemic control. If an SGLT2 inhibitor or GLP-1 receptor agonist is considered suitable in patients with type 2 diabetes, treatment should be prioritised according to existing evidence: GLP-1 receptor agonists should be considered in patients at a high risk of, or with established, cardiovascular disease and SGLT2 inhibitors considered for patients with heart failure (with reduced ejection fraction) or chronic kidney disease (with or without established cardiovascular disease). There is now compelling data on the benefits of these drugs for a range of other clinical indications even without type 2 diabetes, including for GLP-1 receptor agonists in patients with obesity and overweight with weight-related comorbidities.

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