Background: Evidence on the risk for cardiovascular events associated with use of first-line sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (SGLT-2i) compared with metformin is limited.
Objective: To assess cardiovascular outcomes among adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D) who initiated first-line treatment with SGLT-2i versus metformin.
Design: Population-based cohort study.
Setting: Claims data from 2 large U.S. commercial and Medicare databases (April 2013 to March 2020).
Participants: Patients with T2D aged 18 years and older (>65 years in Medicare) initiating treatment with SGLT-2i or metformin during April 2013 to March 2020, without any use of antidiabetic medications before cohort entry, were identified. After 1:2 propensity score matching in each database, pooled hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% CIs were reported.
Intervention: First-line SGLT-2i (canagliflozin, empagliflozin, or dapagliflozin) or metformin.
Measurements: Primary outcomes were a composite of hospitalization for myocardial infarction (MI), hospitalization for ischemic or hemorrhagic stroke or all-cause mortality (MI/stroke/mortality), and a composite of hospitalization for heart failure (HHF) or all-cause mortality (HHF/mortality). Safety outcomes including genital infections were assessed.
Results: Among 8613 first-line SGLT-2i initiators matched to 17 226 metformin initiators, SGLT-2i initiators had a similar risk for MI/stroke/mortality (HR, 0.96; 95% CI, 0.77 to 1.19) and a lower risk for HHF/mortality (HR, 0.80; CI, 0.66 to 0.97) during a mean follow-up of 12 months. Initiators receiving SGLT-2i showed a lower risk for HHF (HR, 0.78; CI, 0.63 to 0.97), a numerically lower risk for MI (HR, 0.70; CI, 0.48 to 1.00), and similar risk for stroke, mortality, and MI/stroke/HHF/mortality compared with metformin. Initiators receiving SGLT-2i had a higher risk for genital infections (HR, 2.19; CI, 1.91 to 2.51) and otherwise similar safety as those receiving metformin.
Limitation: Treatment selection was not randomized.
Conclusion: As first-line T2D treatment, initiators receiving SGLT-2i showed a similar risk for MI/stroke/mortality, lower risk for HHF/mortality and HHF, and a similar safety profile except for an increased risk for genital infections compared with those receiving metformin.
Primary funding source: Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical School.