Beyond type 2 diabetes: sodium glucose co-transporter-inhibition in type 1 diabetes

Diabetes Obes Metab. 2019 Apr;21 Suppl 2:53-61. doi: 10.1111/dom.13659.


Use of sodium glucose cotransporter (SGLT) inhibitors are a well-established therapeutic option in type 2 diabetes (T2D) with a variety of proven therapeutic benefits. They have become a pillar of current treatment guidelines. In type 1 diabetes (T1D), initial exploratory studies have shown benefits in glycemic control, weight control, and cardiovascular risk parameters, leading to trials aiming for regulatory submission with several agents. Results from four 1-year trials, which included a total of 3052 patients, are now available, demonstrating promising findings that target the unmet needs of patients with T1D with a novel insulin-independent adjunct therapy. However, these positive effects must be balanced against the risks associated with this class of drugs. Specifically, current T1D studies have shown an increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA), which, in some cases, presented with only slightly elevated glucose levels. While this complication may be clinically manageable once detected, the metabolic shift towards ketogenesis associated with this class of agents mandates appropriate patient selection. Currently, there are no validated tools for DKA risk assessment. Although the experience gained in studies and off-label use provides some indication for appropriate patient selection, this would have to be evaluated closely in the event that these drugs would receive regulatory approval. Risk mitigation includes training in ketone measurement (preferably as blood β-hydroxybutyrate testing), teaching the concept of euglycemic DKA, and providing a clear treatment algorithm to avoid progression of ketosis to full-blown DKA. Because similar unmet needs also exist in pediatric population studies, risk mitigation in youth should be initiated as well to allow an evidence-based, risk-benefit assessment in this vulnerable population.

Keywords: DKA; SGLT; diabetic ketoacidosis; insulin; ketone; type-1 diabetes; β-hydroxybutyrate.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Blood Glucose / drug effects*
  • Child
  • Clinical Trials as Topic
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / blood
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetic Ketoacidosis / chemically induced*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / pharmacology*
  • Male
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors