Efficacy, safety and regulatory status of SGLT2 inhibitors: focus on canagliflozin

Nutr Diabetes. 2014 Nov 3;4(11):e143. doi: 10.1038/nutd.2014.40.


Prevalence of diabetes mellitus is inc6reasing, with a burden of 382 million patients worldwide at present (more than the entire US population). The International Diabetes Federation anticipates an increase up to 592 million patients by 2035. Another major problem arises from the fact that just 50% of patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus are at target glycaemic control with currently available medications. Therefore, a clear need for new therapies that aim to optimize glycaemic control becomes evident. Renal sodium-linked glucose transporter 2 inhibitors are new antidiabetic drugs with an insulin-independent mechanism of action. They pose one remarkable advantage compared with already established antidiabetics: increasing urinary glucose excretion without inducing hypoglycaemia, thereby promoting body weight reduction due to loss of ~300 kcal per day. This review focuses on canagliflozin, which was the first successful compound of this class to be approved by both the US Food and Drug Administration and the European Medicines Agency in 2013. Clinical trials showed promising results: enhancing glycaemic control was paralleled by reducing body weight and systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Nevertheless, some safety concerns remain, such as genital mycotic infections, urinary tract infections and cardiovascular risks in vulnerable patients, which will be closely monitored in several post-authorization safety studies.