Dapagliflozin as an Adjunct Therapy to Insulin in Patients with Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus: Efficacy and Safety of this Combination

touchREV Endocrinol. 2021 Apr;17(1):12-20. doi: 10.17925/EE.2021.17.1.12. Epub 2021 Apr 28.


The prevalence of type 1 diabetes (T1D) is increasing worldwide. T1D reduces life expectancy due to complications including cardiovascular disease. Sodium-glucose co-transporter (SGLT) inhibitors are a new class of drugs developed to treat type 2 diabetes (T2D), and now they can be used as an adjunct to insulin in T1D. In clinical trials, they have been shown to improve glycaemic control and decrease body weight without the risk of increased hypoglycaemia and with a reduction in insulin dose. Four SGLT2 inhibitors have been approved in Europe for the treatment of T2D, while only dapagliflozin and sotagliflozin, a dual SGLT1 and SGLT2 inhibitor approved in 2019, have been approved for the treatment of T1D. Both can be used as an adjunct therapy in combination with insulin in adults with a body mass index (BMI) of ≥27 kg/m2, inadequately controlled with insulin. In Europe, dapagliflozin is the only currently available SGLT2 inhibitor indcated as adjunct therapy for patients with T1D. The subgroup of patients with a BMI of ≥27 kg/m2 from the DEPICT-1 and -2 trials (Dapagliflozin Evaluation in Patients with Inadequately Controlled Type 1 diabetes) showed similar reduction in hyperglycaemia and body weight but no significant increased risk of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) than the overall trial population. The risk of DKA has been shown to increase in patients with T1D treated with adjunct therapy with SGLT2 inhibitors, and studies on sotagliflozin and empagliflozin have suggested a dose response. Thus, it is important to educate patients and doctors how to recognize symptoms of upcoming DKA and mitigate it. An independent DKA education programme has recently been developed to instruct patients with T1D being treated with SGLT inhibitor therapies with and without insulin pumps to prevent, identify and treat DKA. Despite these considerations, clinical trials support the use of SGLT2 inhibitors in the management of T1D. The benefits and potential risks of dapagliflozin as an adjunct therapy to insulin in adults with T1D should be considered in each individual case. Here we discuss the efficacy and safety of dapagliflozin as adjunct therapy in patients with T1D.

Keywords: Dapagliflozin; adjunctive therapy; insulin; sodium glucose co-transporter; type 1 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Review

Grant support

Support: The publication of this article was supported by AstraZeneca. The views and opinions expressed in the article are those of the authors and not necessarily those of AstraZeneca.