SGLT-2 Inhibitors and Peripheral Artery Disease: A Statistical Hoax or Reality?

Curr Probl Cardiol. 2019 Jul;44(7):207-222. doi: 10.1016/j.cpcardiol.2018.06.004. Epub 2018 Jul 6.


Inhibitors of sodium-glucose cotransporters type-2 are the most recent addition to the armamentarium of oral antidiabetic agents. This class of drugs has shown promising results in glycemic control and most importantly to reduce cardiovascular disease (CVD) mortality risk. Despite the encouraging data, there is concern regarding their potential for causing or worsening peripheral artery disease (PAD), which may increase the risk of lower extremity amputations. Following the publication of results of CANVAS and CANVAS-R trials, which revealed that leg and mid-foot amputations occurred about twice as often in patients treated with canagliflozin compared to placebo, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States issued a black box warning of leg and foot amputations associated with canagliflozin use. In this article, our main aim is to review the available evidence in preclinical and clinical studies regarding SGLT-2 inhibitors and PAD events, the possible mechanisms related to increased risk of amputation, to evaluate whether it is a class effect or individual drug effect, and most importantly, implications for their continued use as antidiabetic agents. It also raises the issue of including PAD events among the end-points when assessing future antihyperglycemic agents. Thus, we also tried to analyze whether outcomes of SGLT2 inhibitors trials mostly focused on stroke, myocardial infarction, heart failure, and peripheral vascular disease-related outcomes remained underrated.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Amputation, Surgical / statistics & numerical data
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / etiology
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / adverse effects*
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / chemically induced*
  • Peripheral Arterial Disease / surgery
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic
  • Risk Assessment / methods
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors / adverse effects*
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use


  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors