The importance of the kidney's role in glucose homeostasis has gained wider understanding in recent years. Consequently, the development of a new pharmacological class of anti-diabetes agents targeting the kidney has provided new treatment options for the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). Sodium glucose co-transporter type 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, such as dapagliflozin, canagliflozin, and empagliflozin, decrease renal glucose reabsorption, which results in enhanced urinary glucose excretion and subsequent reductions in plasma glucose and glycosylated hemoglobin concentrations. Modest reductions in body weight and blood pressure have also been observed following treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors. SGLT2 inhibitors appear to be generally well tolerated, and have been used safely when given as monotherapy or in combination with other oral anti-diabetes agents and insulin. The risk of hypoglycemia is low with SGLT2 inhibitors. Typical adverse events appear to be related to the presence of glucose in the urine, namely genital mycotic infection and lower urinary tract infection, and are more often observed in women than in men. Data from long-term safety studies with SGLT2 inhibitors and from head-to-head SGLT2 inhibitor comparator studies are needed to fully determine their benefit-risk profile, and to identify any differences between individual agents. However, given current safety and efficacy data, SGLT2 inhibitors may present an attractive option for T2DM patients who are failing with metformin monotherapy, especially if weight is part of the underlying treatment consideration.
Keywords: anti-diabetes agents; efficacy; hyperglycemia; safety; sodium glucose co-transporter type 2 inhibitors; type 2 diabetes mellitus.