Meta-analysis on the efficacy and safety of SGLT2 inhibitors and incretin based agents combination therapy vs. SGLT2i alone or add-on to metformin in type 2 diabetes

Diabetes Metab Res Rev. 2020 Feb;36(2):e3223. doi: 10.1002/dmrr.3223. Epub 2019 Nov 13.


We aimed to determine whether sodium-glucose cotransporter type 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is) and incretin-based agents combination therapy produces more benefits than SGLT2is alone in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). PubMed, Embase, and the Cochrane Library were searched for randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing SGLT2is plus Dipeptidyl-Peptidase 4 inhibitors (SGLT2is/DPP4is) or glucagon like peptide-1 receptor agonists (SGLT2is/GLP-1RAs) against SGLT2is as monotherapy or add-on to metformin in T2DMs. A total of 13 studies with 7350 participants were included. Combination with GLP-1RAs exhibited more HbA1c reduction (WMD: -0.8; 95% CI, -1.14 to -0.45%), weight loss (-1.46; 95% CI, -2.38 to -0.54 kg), and systolic blood pressure (SBP) reduction (-2.88; 95% CI, -4.52 to -1.25 mmHg) versus SGLT2is alone but increased the gastrointestinal disorder risk (RR: 1.68; 95% CI, 1.14-2.47). Combination with DPP4is exhibited an extra effect on HbA1c reduction (-0.47; 95% CI, -0.58 to -0.37%), a neutral effect on weight (0.19; 95% CI, -0.11 to 0.48 kg) and SBP (-0.01; 95% CI, -0.85 to 0.63 mmHg), and ameliorated the genital infections risk (0.73; 95% CI, 0.54-0.97) versus SGLT2is. Meta-regression indicated the hypoglycemic efficacy of SGLT2is/DPP4is is higher in Asians than in other ethnics, and the differences in BMI across ethnic groups may mediate this effect. SGLT2is and incretin-based agents combination therapy is efficacious and safe versus SGLT2is alone in T2DMs. Particularly, combination with GLP-1RAs shows additional benefits to glycemic, weight, and SBP control to a larger extent than DPP4is, while combination with DPP4is ameliorates the risk for genital infection seen with SGLT2is. We highlight the need for individualized treatment related to the selection of this novel combination therapy.

Keywords: SGLT2 inhibitors; incretin-based agents; meta-analysis; type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose / metabolism*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / metabolism
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / pathology
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Incretins / therapeutic use*
  • Metformin / therapeutic use*
  • Prognosis
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors / therapeutic use*


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