SGLT inhibitors in type 1 diabetes: weighing efficacy and side effects

Ther Adv Endocrinol Metab. 2020 Jul 24;11:2042018820938545. doi: 10.1177/2042018820938545. eCollection 2020.


Even before sodium-glucose cotransporter inhibitors (SGLTi) became popular agents for the treatment of people with type 2 diabetes (T2DM), clinicians had explored their potential as adjunct therapies in type 1 diabetes (T1DM). Several trials have demonstrated improved glycemic control (compared with placebo) and a decrease in glucose variability with a clinically relevant increase of time in range. In addition, weight loss and decreased systolic blood pressure are observed. The magnitude of the effects observed depends on the type of SGLTi, the dose administrated, and the duration of observation in the studies. As seen in T2DM, there was an increase in the risk of urogenital mycotic infections, but no increase in the risk of severe hypoglycemia. However, concerns arose regarding an increase in incidence of diabetic ketoacidosis. Mitigation strategies, including careful patient selection, extensive education of patients and (para)medical personnel, adequate insulin dose titration, and the adoption of a ketone-centered approach, are suggested. In different areas of the world, SGLTi are approved for use in T1DM with restrictions concerning patient selection and SGLTi dose. Real-world data on the effect of introduction of SGLTi in people with T1DM will yield insight on the robustness of glycemic effects over time, and allow us to determine whether the positive risk-benefit profile observed in clinical trials can be translated to the real world.

Keywords: SGLT inhibition; diabetic ketoacidosis; time in range; type 1 diabetes; unmet medical need.

Publication types

  • Review