Sulodexide for kidney protection in type 2 diabetes patients with microalbuminuria: a randomized controlled trial

Am J Kidney Dis. 2011 Nov;58(5):729-36. doi: 10.1053/j.ajkd.2011.06.020. Epub 2011 Aug 26.


Background: Sulodexide, a heterogenous group of sulfated glycosaminoglycans, includes low-molecular-weight heparin (~80% ± 8%), high-molecular-weight heparin (~5% ± 3%), and dermatan (~20% ± 8%), with a mean molecular weight of ~9 kDa. The drug is absorbed orally and has no anticoagulant effect in the doses used. Small preliminary studies consistently showed sulodexide to be associated with decreased albuminuria in patients with diabetes.

Study design: We conducted a multicenter placebo-controlled double-blinded study to determine the effect of sulodexide on urine albumin excretion in patients with type 2 diabetic nephropathy.

Setting & participants: Patients with type 2 diabetes and urine albumin-creatinine ratios (ACRs) of 35-200 mg/g in men and 45-200 mg/g in women were enrolled. Serum creatinine level was <1.5 mg/dL. Blood pressure goal was 130/80 mm Hg. A maximum US Food and Drug Administration-approved dose of an angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker for a minimum of 4 months before randomization was required.

Intervention: The study drug was sulodexide, 200 mg/d.

Outcome & measurements: The primary end point was normoalbuminuria (ACR <20 mg/g and a decrease >25%) or 50% decrease in baseline ACR.

Results: In 1,056 randomly assigned patients with a mean baseline ACR of 107.8 ± 83.7 mg/g, comparing the sulodexide versus placebo groups, the primary end point was achieved in 16.5% versus 18.4%; normoalbuminuria, in 7.9% versus 6.1%; and a 50% decrease in albuminuria, in 15.4% versus 17.6%. The relative probability of any given change in albuminuria was identical in both groups.

Limitations: We were unable to determine whether the administered sulodexide was absorbed from the gastrointestinal tract.

Conclusion: Sulodexide failed to decrease urine albumin excretion in patients with type 2 diabetic nephropathy and microalbuminuria.

Trial registration: NCT00130208.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Albuminuria / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Nephropathies / prevention & control*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Glycosaminoglycans / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Kidney Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged


  • Glycosaminoglycans
  • glucuronyl glucosamine glycan sulfate

Associated data