Strategically Playing with Fire: SGLT Inhibitors as Possible Adjunct to Closed-Loop Insulin Therapy

J Diabetes Sci Technol. 2021 Nov;15(6):1232-1242. doi: 10.1177/19322968211035411. Epub 2021 Sep 24.


As closed-loop insulin therapies emerge into clinical practice and evolve in medical research for type 1 diabetes (T1D) treatment, the limitations in these therapies become more evident. These gaps include unachieved target levels of glycated hemoglobin in some patients, postprandial hyperglycemia, the ongoing need for carbohydrate counting, and the lack of non-glycemic benefits (such as prevention of metabolic syndrome and complications). Multiple adjunct therapies have been examined to improve closed-loop systems, yet none have become a staple. Sodium-glucose-linked cotransporter inhibitors (SGLTi's) have been extensively researched in T1D, with average reductions in placebo-adjusted HbA1c by 0.39%, and total daily dose by approximately 10%. Unfortunately, many trials revealed an increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis, as high as 5 times the relative risk compared to placebo. This narrative review discusses the proven benefits and risks of SGLTi in patients with T1D with routine therapy, what has been studied thus far in closed-loop therapy in combination with SGLTi, the potential benefits of SGLTi use to closed-loop systems, and what is required going forward to improve the benefit to risk ratio in these insulin systems.

Keywords: SGLT inhibitors; adjunct therapy; artificial pancreas; closed-loop therapy; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Insulin / therapeutic use
  • Insulin Infusion Systems


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin