Do sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors show promise for type 2 diabetics?

Researchers compared sodium glucose transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors to DPP-4 inhibitors.

According to the American Heart Association, people that suffer from diabetes are two to four times more likely to die from heart disease as those without it. Diabetics are more likely to have high blood pressure, cholesterol, body weight, and blood sugar, all of which are contributing factors to heart disease. The good news is that people with type 2 diabetes have many options to help them treat their condition. While diet and exercise programs are a good place to start, many diabetics need to take prescription medicines to control their diabetes. One type of prescription medications is sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors. 

Research studies assessing SGLT2 inhibitors have, so far, shown mixed results of their ability to lower diabetics’ risk of a cardiovascular event. To determine whether sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors were as effective as another antidiabetic drug, dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitor, scientists at the Centre for Clinical Epidemiology in Montreal recently conducted a retrospective study of the two medicines. Their results were published in the journal BMJ.

The study followed type 2 diabetics that had taken an antidiabetic drug between January 2006 through June 2018. Researchers matched 209,867 patients prescribed SGLT2 with patients prescribed DPP-4. Patients that did not meet all the study requirements were excluded from the analysis.

Data was collected detailing any major cardiovascular events the patients experienced during the review period. Major cardiovascular events included non-fatal and fatal heart attacks and strokes. Information on hospital visits or stays was also tracked. 

The research team statistically analyzed the data to compare the performance of sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors to dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. They also conducted 13 secondary analyses to get a full picture of the performance of each drug and specific types of heart failures in the patients.

Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors reduced risk of death

SGLT2 inhibitors decreased type 2 diabetics’ risk of death and death by heart failure more than dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. The study provided evidence indicating SGLT2 inhibitors were associated with decreased risk for major cardiovascular events. 

Study authors would like to perform additional research to determine whether the benefits of sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors work long-term.

 Written by Rebecca K. Blankenship, B.Sc.


Cardiovascular Disease And Diabetes“. Www.Heart.Org, 2020,–diabetes.

Filion, Kristian B et al. “Sodium Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors And Risk Of Major Adverse Cardiovascular Events: Multi-Database Retrospective Cohort Study”. BMJ, 2020, p. m3342. BMJ, doi:10.1136/bmj.m3342. Accessed 28 Sept 2020.

Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay 

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