Published: 2016-12-23

Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors as anti-diabetic agents: a review

Chirag B. Mistry, Radhika A. Vaishnav, Mona H. Shah


The incidence and prevalence of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) have been increasing worldwide. However, existing therapeutic classes of anti-diabetic drugs are not adequately effective in achieving and maintaining long-term glycemic control in the most patients. The majority of the drugs control blood sugar without addressing the basic pathology of insulin resistance and relative deficiency. Moreover, side effects such as hypoglycemia and weight gain, of both new and established drugs need to be considered prior to treating a patient. An emerging anti-hyperglycemic intervention, the sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor acts by a novel mechanism. Under physiological conditions, SGLT2 accounts for 90% of the glucose re-absorption in the kidney, while the SGLT2 inhibitors result in an increase in urinary excretion of glucose and lower plasma glucose levels. Here, the pros and cons of SGLT2 inhibitors are considered, while approaching a patient with T2DM. The basic biochemistry and physiology underlying the mechanisms of SGLT2 inhibitors are discussed alongside its clinical pharmacology, with a focus on metabolic changes associated with urinary glucose loss. Finally, a consideration of Food and Drug Administration safety concerns associated with acidosis due to SGLT2 inhibitor usage is presented, to allow a complete understanding of the utility of these molecules in the light of existing T2DM therapies.


Anti-hyperglycemic drugs, Cardiovascular safety, Food and Drug Administration, Hyperglycemia, Renal function, Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 inhibitors, Type 2 diabetes mellitus

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