From Skepticism to Hope: The Evolving Concept of the Initiation and Use of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors in Hospitalized Patients

Drugs. 2022 Jun;82(9):949-955. doi: 10.1007/s40265-022-01730-2. Epub 2022 Jun 9.


The management of hyperglycemia in patients admitted to hospital is mainly based on insulin therapy. However, the positive and rapid effects of sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) on cardiorenal outcomes raises the possibility that they might confer benefits to hospitalized patients. In recent, well designed, randomized trials (SOLOIST-WHF and EMPULSE) recruiting inpatients with heart failure (HF), SGLT2i demonstrated the potential to improve survival and quality of life and reduce the number of HF events, time to first HF event, hospitalizations, and urgent visits for HF compared with placebo. They were also well tolerated, whereas incidence of diabetic ketoacidosis was low. In EMBODY, empagliflozin was shown to be protective against the deleterious effects of cardiac injury in patients with acute myocardial infarction. In DARE-19, the administration of dapagliflozin to inpatients with cardiometabolic risk factors and COVID-19 was based on the hypothesis that the anti-inflammatory properties of SGLT2i could alleviate organ damage. Although the findings did not reach statistical significance, the efficacy and safety profiles of the drug were encouraging. These promising findings in the field of cardiometabolic medicine set the stage for future research to explore whether the benefits of gliflozins can expand to inpatients with non-cardiometabolic disorders, including sepsis, cirrhotic ascites, and malignancies. The concept of inpatient use of SGLT2i has evolved greatly over the past few years. The latest evidence suggests that SGLT2i may be effective and safe in the hospital setting, provided patients are carefully selected and closely monitored. Real-world data will prove whether present hope about inpatient use of gliflozins will transform into future confidence.

MeSH terms

  • COVID-19
  • Heart Failure* / drug therapy
  • Humans
  • Quality of Life
  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors* / adverse effects


  • Sodium-Glucose Transporter 2 Inhibitors