Introduction: Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are the latest class of drugs to be introduced for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus. These drugs improve glycemic control by increasing urinary glucose excretion and exert additional benefits of weight loss and blood pressure reductions. Areas covered: This review outlines the background to SGLT2 inhibitors and provides details on the pharmacokinetics, pharmacodynamics and clinical efficacy of empagliflozin and discusses the cardiovascular outcome trial. Expert opinion: Empagliflozin was the first from a new group of antidiabetic drugs to show benefits in a cardiovascular outcome trial. There were significant reductions in cardiovascular and all-cause mortality and empagliflozin treatment reduced hospitalizations for heart failure and reduced the progression of diabetic nephropathy. These benefits, which occurred at a very early stage during the study, may be related to a reduction in circulating volume or changes in metabolic fuel utilization in the heart and kidneys. Whether these effects are shared by other SGLT2 inhibitors is not yet known, but there may be differences between drugs related to selectivity for inhibition of SGLT2 compared to SGLT1 or other pharmacological effects. Currently the outcome evidence is only available to support the use of empagliflozin in this drug class.
- sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors
- type 2 diabetes mellitus
- urinary glucose excretion
ASJC Scopus subject areas