SGLT2 inhibitors for diabetes treatment

Diabetes treating ‘SGLT2 inhibitors’ named among top advances for preventing heart disease

Summary: SGLT2 inhibitors, a widely heralded class of diabetes drugs, were shown to significantly lower the rates of heart failure and death in the CVD-REAL study.  [This article first appeared on LongevityFacts. Author: Brady Hartman. ]

The new SGLT2 inhibitors are a class of diabetes treatments shown in observational studies to have lower rates of heart failure and death when compared to other glucose-lowering drugs. The new drugs are so promising that the AHA named in its annual top 10 lists of significant advances in heart disease and stroke research, published on February 8, 2018.

Here’s  more about the CVD-REAL research study on SGLT inhibitors.

SGLT2 Inhibitors May Lower Rates of Heart Failure and Death for Diabetics

The observational CVD-REAL study published in the journal Circulation reported significantly lower rates of death and heart failure for type 2 diabetes patients treated with SGLT2 inhibitors when compared with other glucose-lowering drugs.

SGLT2 inhibitors, also known as gliflozins, are a new class of type 2 diabetes treatment. Since these oral medications were first introduced in 2013, researchers have shown they can significantly reduce the risk of death for patients with type 2 diabetes. The CVD-REAL study evaluated the three SGLT2 inhibitors currently on the market including Jardiance (empagliflozin), and Farxiga (dapagliflozin) and Invokana (canagliflozin). CVD-REAL was an was paid for by AstraZeneca which markets dapagliflozin under the brand name Farxiga.

SGLT2 inhibitors operate in the kidneys to prevent glucose that has been filtered from being reabsorbed into the bloodstream, thereby reducing blood glucose levels. Moreover, researchers have linked SGLT inhibitors with a reduced incidence of cardiac disease, weight loss, and reduced hypoglycemia, except when taken with insulin. On the other hand, the FDA has warned that SGLT2 inhibitors carry double the risk of ketoacidosis, a condition in which there is too much acid in the blood.

CVD-REAL looked at a little more than 309,000 patients with Type 2 diabetes in the U.S., the U.K., and Europe and compared the effectiveness of SGLT2 inhibitors with other glucose-lowering drugs. The study evaluated hospitalization for heart failure and total mortality among new users of SGLT2 inhibitors, however, did not examine myocardial infarction (heart attack), stroke or composite cardiovascular disease outcomes.

The study reported that users of SGLT2 inhibitors had an overall 39% lower risk of hospitalization for heart failure, a 51% reduction in total death, and a 46% reduction in the composite of heart failure hospitalization or death.

While the CVD-REAL study strongly suggests the SGLT2 inhibitors offer benefits, the trial was observational. Randomized clinical trials have yet to be done to validate these results.

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AHA names top heart disease and stroke research advances of 2017. American Heart Association. February 8, 2018. Link to AHA announcement. 

Kosiborod, Mikhail et al. “Lower Risk of Heart Failure and Death in Patients Initiated on Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2 Inhibitors Versus Other Glucose-Lowering Drugs: The CVD-REAL Study (Comparative Effectiveness of Cardiovascular Outcomes in New Users of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2 Inhibitors).” Circulation 136.3 (2017): 249–259. PMC. Web. 10 Feb. 2018. Link to article in PMC.

Nathan D. Wong, Michael Blaha. “The CVD-REAL Study: A Real-World Look at the Effectiveness of SLGT-2 Inhibitors.” American College of Cardiology – Latest in Cardiology
Dec 04, 2017. Link to article in ACC.


Diagnosis, Treatment, and Advice:  This article is intended for educational and informational purposes only and is not a substitute for qualified, professional medical advice.  The information and opinions provided in this article should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Consult a qualified and licensed physician for the diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Experimental treatments carry a much higher risk than FDA-approved ones. Dial 9-1-1, or an equivalent emergency hotline number, for all medical emergencies. As well, consult a licensed, qualified physician before changing your diet, supplement or exercise programs.
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