Kidney Outcomes Associated With SGLT2 Inhibitors Versus Other Glucose-Lowering Drugs in Real-world Clinical Practice: The Japan Chronic Kidney Disease Database

Diabetes Care. 2021 Nov;44(11):2542-2551. doi: 10.2337/dc21-1081. Epub 2021 Sep 30.


Objective: Randomized controlled trials have shown kidney-protective effects of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, and clinical practice databases have suggested that these effects translate to clinical practice. However, long-term efficacy, as well as whether the presence or absence of proteinuria and the rate of estimated glomerular filtration rates (eGFR) decline prior to SGLT2 inhibitor initiation modify treatment efficacy among type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and chronic kidney disease (CKD) patients, is unknown.

Research design and methods: Using the Japan Chronic Kidney Disease Database (J-CKD-DB), a nationwide multicenter CKD registry, we developed propensity scores for SGLT2 inhibitor initiation, with 1:1 matching with patients who were initiated on other glucose-lowering drugs. The primary outcome included rate of eGFR decline, and the secondary outcomes included a composite outcome of 50% eGFR decline or end-stage kidney disease.

Results: At baseline, mean age at initiation of the SGLT2 inhibitor (n = 1,033) or other glucose-lowering drug (n = 1,033) was 64.4 years, mean eGFR was 68.1 mL/min per 1.73 m2, and proteinuria was apparent in 578 (28.0%) of included patients. During follow-up, SGLT2 inhibitor initiation was associated with reduced eGFR decline (difference in slope for SGLT2 inhibitors vs. other drugs 0.75 mL/min/1.73 m2 per year [0.51 to 1.00]). During a mean follow-up of 24 months, 103 composite kidney outcomes occurred: 30 (14 events per 1,000 patient-years) among the SGLT2 inhibitors group and 73 (36 events per 1,000 patient-years) among the other drugs group (hazard ratio 0.40, 95% CI 0.26-0.61). The benefit provided by SGLT2 inhibitors was consistent irrespective of proteinuria and rate of eGFR decline before initiation of SGLT2 inhibitors (P heterogeneity ≥ 0.35).

Conclusions: The benefits of SGLT2 inhibitors on kidney function as observed in clinical trials translate to patients treated in clinical practice with no evidence that the effects are modified by the underlying rate of kidney function decline or the presence of proteinuria.

Publication types

  • Multicenter Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications
  • Glomerular Filtration Rate
  • Glucose* / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Kidney / physiology*
  • Renal Insufficiency, Chronic / complications
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors* / adverse effects
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors* / therapeutic use


  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors
  • Glucose

Associated data

  • figshare/10.2337/figshare.16434609