Aims/hypothesis: Sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors lower glycaemia by inducing glycosuria, but raise endogenous glucose production (EGP). Metformin lowers glycaemia mainly by suppressing EGP. We compared the effects of the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin in treatment-naive (TN) and metformin pretreated (Met) patients with type 2 diabetes.
Methods: A total of 32 TN and 34 patients on a stable dose of metformin, two subgroups of a study that we previously reported, received a mixed meal with double-tracer glucose administration and indirect calorimetry at baseline, after a single 25 mg dose of empagliflozin, and after 4 weeks of treatment with empagliflozin 25 mg/day.
Results: At baseline, compared with the TN group, the Met group had higher fasting glycaemia (9.1 ± 1.7 vs 8.2 ± 1.3 mmol/l), lower fasting and postmeal insulin secretion, lower beta cell glucose sensitivity (37  vs 58  pmol min(-1) m(-2) [mmol/l](-1), median [interquartile range]) and insulin:glucagon ratio, and higher fasting EGP (15.9 [4.3] vs 12.1 [2.7] μmol kgFFM (-1) min(-1)). Change from baseline in fasting EGP after single dose and 4 weeks of treatment with empagliflozin was similar in the Met and TN groups (19.6 [4.2] and 19.0 [2.3] in Met vs 16.2 [3.6] and 15.5 [3.2] μmol kgFFM (-1) min(-1) in TN for acute and chronic dosing, respectively). Beta cell glucose sensitivity increased less in Met than TN patients, whereas substrate utilisation shifted from carbohydrate to fat more in Met than TN patients.
Conclusions/interpretation: At baseline, Met patients with type 2 diabetes had more advanced disease than TN patients, featuring worse beta cell function and higher EGP. Empagliflozin induced similar glycosuria and metabolic and hormonal responses in Met and TN patients.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01248364; European Union Clinical Trials Register 2010-018708-99.
Keywords: Empagliflozin; Endogenous glucose production; Glycosuria; Metformin; Type 2 diabetes.