Introduction: Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a novel class of agents for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). By inhibiting SGLT2, they prevent renal glucose reabsorption, resulting in glucosuria.
Areas covered: The rationale for development of SGLT2 inhibitors is reviewed, with particular focus on the nine SGLT2 inhibitors currently in development. The authors compare the potency and SGLT2 selectivity of the agents, as well as the results from both animal and clinical studies, considering the potential implications they may have for clinical use.
Expert opinion: Current evidence suggests that SGLT2 inhibitors have similar efficacy in terms of glycemic control and also demonstrate benefits beyond glycemic reductions, including reductions in body weight and modest reductions in blood pressure. Additionally, they appear to preserve beta-cell function and improve insulin sensitivity. Their mechanism of action allows for combination of SGLT2 inhibitors with other antidiabetic drugs and use across the treatment continuum for T2DM. Potential differences in safety and efficacy based on observed differences in potency and selectivity among the SGLT2 inhibitors, particularly versus SGLT1, remain to be seen. Further long-term data, including post-marketing surveillance, are required to fully determine the safety profile of SGLT2 inhibitors in large patient groups.