Cardiovascular benefit of SGLT2 inhibitors

Crit Rev Clin Lab Sci. 2021 Nov 17;1-14. doi: 10.1080/10408363.2021.1993439. Online ahead of print.


Patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2D) are at increased risk of cardiovascular (CV) disease. Sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, also known as gliflozins, are a class of medications used to treat T2D by preventing the reabsorption of glucose filtered through the kidney and thereby facilitating glucose excretion in the urine. Over the past 5 years, many cardiovascular outcome trials (CVOTs) have evaluated the safety and efficacy of SGLT2 inhibitors in preventing CV events. The results of 7 CVOTs have provided solid evidence that the use of SGLT2 in patients with T2D and at high CV risk significantly reduced the risk of death from CV causes. Moreover, in patient with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, regardless of the presence or absence of T2D, SGLT2 inhibitors use significantly reduced the risk of worsening heart failure and death from CV causes. Although the exact mechanism of the cardiorenal benefit of SGLT2 inhibitors is still unknown, studies have shown that the beneficial effect of these drugs cannot be exclusively explained by their glucose lowering effect, and several possible mechanisms have been proposed. This review will explore the changing role of SGLT2 inhibitors from a diabetes drug to clinical practice guideline-supported therapy for the prevention and treatment of CV diseases, including heart failure.

Keywords: SGLT-2 inhibitor; cardiovascular risk; chronic kidney disease; heart failure; type 2 diabetes mellitus.