Introduction: Available anti-hyperglycemic therapy in type 1 diabetes (T1DM) is currently restricted to insulin, pramlintide, and pancreas or islet cell transplantation. The imperfect replication of normal insulin secretion and glucose control has been a driver for development of other anti-hyperglycemic agents for this population. Empagliflozin, a sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor, is currently under investigation as an add-on therapy to insulin in T1DM.
Areas covered: Within the drug evaluation, the authors describe the mechanism of action of SGLT2 inhibitors and preliminary results from studies investigating treatment in rodent models and in individuals with T1DM.
Expert opinion: Studies on adjunct therapeutic effects of empagliflozin in individuals with T1DM are limited, but initial reports show favorable effects on reducing HbA1c, body weight, total daily insulin dose and hypoglycemic events. Intriguingly, this drug may confer a degree of renal protection by reducing glomerular hyperfiltration that can arise in the diabetic state. Currently, the primary concern seems to be the presence of ketone levels indicating an under-insulinized state. Long-term effects can only be inferred from studies in type 2 diabetes mellitus at this time. Empagliflozin represents a novel non-insulin-mediated therapy that warrants further investigation.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01969747.
Keywords: empagliflozin; glycemic control; sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitor; type 1 diabetes mellitus.