SGLT2 inhibitors to control glycemia in type 2 diabetes mellitus: a new approach to an old problem

Postgrad Med. 2014 Jan;126(1):111-7. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2014.01.2731.


Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a new class of antidiabetic agents with a novel insulin-independent mechanism of action. The SGLT2 is a transporter found in the proximal tubule of the kidney and is responsible for approximately 90% of renal glucose reabsorption. The SGLT2 inhibitors reduce reabsorption of glucose in the kidney, resulting in glucose excretion in the urine (50-90 g of ~180 g filtered by the kidneys daily), which in turn lowers plasma glucose levels in people with diabetes. The insulin-independent mechanism of action of SGLT2 inhibitors dictates that they are associated with a very low risk of hypoglycemia and can be used in patients with any degree of β-cell function or insulin sensitivity. Clinical trials have shown that SGLT2 inhibitors are effective at reducing blood glucose levels, body weight, and blood pressure when used as monotherapy or in combination with other antidiabetic agents in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus. Treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors is generally well tolerated, although these agents have been associated with an increased incidence of genital infections. The SGLT2 inhibitors have become a valuable addition to the armory of drugs used to treat patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus, and several agents within the class are currently under investigation in phase III clinical trials.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism
  • Blood Pressure
  • Body Weight
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / physiopathology*
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Glucose / metabolism*
  • Glycosuria / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / epidemiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / administration & dosage
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • Glucose