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Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors bind and inhibit SGLT2, the transporter responsible for reabsorbing the majority of glucose filtered by the tubular lumen in the kidney. SGLT2 is expressed in the proximal renal tubules. Inhibiting SGLT2 causes a decrease in filtered glucose reabsorption and lowers the renal threshold for glucose (RTG), thereby increasing urinary glucose excretion and improving blood glucose control. These glucose-lowering effects are insulin-independent. SGLT2 inhibitor-induced glycosuria results in a daily caloric deficit of approximately 250 to 450 kcal resulting in a reported 2 to 3 kg weight loss over 12 weeks of therapy. This weight loss has been shown to plateau around 6 months; however, a loss of approximately 3 kg was maintained during long-term therapy. Through inhibition of glucose and sodium reabsorption, SGLT2 inhibitors exert osmotic diuretic and natriuretic effects reducing both systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Though the exact mechanism for the beneficial cardiorenal effects seen in clinical studies of SGLT2 inhibitor therapy is not fully known, it is believed to be related to glycosuria and natriuresis; these effects lead to uricosuria and reduction in plasma uric acid, and a reduction in plasma volume, lowering of cardiac preload, and reduced arterial pressure and stiffness possibly resulting in afterload reduction.   
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus
Dosage Comparison of SGLT2 Inhibitors (Adults)
Dose Adjustment for Drug Interactions
100 mg to 300 mg once daily
eGFR 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2 or greater:
No dose adjustment needed
eGFR 45 to 59 mL/minute/1.73 m2:
100 mg once daily
eGFR 30 to 44 mL/minute/1.73 m2:
100 mg once dailyh
eGFR less than 30 mL/minute/1.73 m2:
In patients already initiated on therapy who meet the criterion of an eGFR less than 30 mL/minute/1.73 m2 with albuminuria greater than 300 mg/day, therapy can be continued at 100 mg once daily.i
Mild or Moderate impairment:
No dosage adjustment needed.
Use has not been studied; not recommended
UGT Enzyme Inducersc
Increase dose to 200 mg (taken as two 100 mg tablets) once daily d, e, f
Increase dose to 200 mg (taken as two 100 mg tablets) once daily d, e, g
5 mg to 10 mg once dailyj
eGFR 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2 or more:
No dosage adjustment needed
eGFR less than 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2:
Do not initiate dapagliflozin; use is not recommended when eGFR is persistently less than 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2
Use is contraindicated
Mild, Moderate or Severe Hepatic Impairment
Not studied in severe impairment; risk/benefit of use should be individually assessed.
No dose adjustment needed.
10 mg to 25 mg once daily
eGFR 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2 or greater:
Do not initiate empagliflozin in these patients; use is not recommended when eGFR is persistently less than 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2
5 mg to 15 mg once daily
eGFR 30 to 59 mL/minute/1.73 m2:
Do not initiate ertugliflozin in these patients; use is not recommended when eGFR is persistently less than 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2
aCanagliflozin is to be taken in the morning before the first meal. Dapagliflozin, empagliflozin, and ertugliflozin are to be taken in the morning with or without food.
bAll SGLT2 inhibitors are contraindicated in patients with end-stage renal disease or on dialysis.
cUDP-Glucuronosyl transferase (UGT) enzyme inducers.
dExamples of medications that are potent UGT enzyme inducers are rifampin, phenytoin, phenobarbital, and ritonavir.
ePatients currently tolerating canagliflozin 100 mg once daily and with an eGFR of 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2 or greater.
fIn patients tolerating canagliflozin 200 mg/day, who require additional glycemic control, the dose may be increased to 300 mg once daily.
gIn patients taking canagliflozin 200 mg/day who require additional glycemic control, consider another antihyperglycemic agent.
hThere are insufficient data to support dosing recommendations for initiation of therapy in patients with eGFR less than 45 mL/minute/1.73 m2 with albuminuria 300 mg/day or less.
iThere are insufficient data to support dosing recommendations for initiation of therapy in patients with eGFR less than 30 mL/minute/1.73 m2 with albuminuria more than 300 mg/day.
jThe dapagliflozin dose for reduction of the risk of hospitalization for HF in adults with T2DM and established CV disease or multiple CV risk factors is 10 mg once daily.
SGLT2 Inhibitor Comparative Efficacy Trials
Compared to other SGLT2 inhibitors at any dose, canagliflozin 300 mg had greater mean
Canagliflozin 300 mg greater reduction in A1C and FPG compared to highest doses of dapagliflozin and empagliflozin; 10 mg and 25 mg, respectively.
No difference in A1C reduction between dapagliflozin 10 mg and empagliflozin 25 mg.
No difference in body weight reductions among canagliflozin 300 mg, dapagliflozin 10 mg and empagliflozin 25 mg.
Similar incidence of genital infections for all SGLT2 inhibitors.
Canagliflozin 100 mg and 300 mg were associated with a significantly increased risk of hypoglycemia compared to placebo, dapagliflozin 10 mg and empagliflozin 10 mg.
Dapagliflozin 10 mg had an increased risk of urinary tract infections compared to placebo and empagliflozin 10 mg.
Canagliflozin 300 mg was found to offer greater reductions in A1C, FPG, and SBP compared to other SGLT2 inhibitors.
Canagliflozin was found to increase levels of LDL cholesterol.
All SGLT2 inhibitors had similar rates of genital infections.
A1C less than 7%
Compared to canagliflozin 300 mg, canagliflozin 100 mg (RR 0.72, 95% CI 0.59 to 0.87) and dapagliflozin 10 mg (RR 0.63, 95% CI 0.48 to 0.85) were 28% and 37%, respectively, less likely to achieve an A1C less than 7%. No significant difference between canagliflozin 300 mg and empagliflozin 10 mg or 25 mg.
Reduction in A1C
Greatest reduction in A1C occurred with canagliflozin 300 mg.
Compared to Canagliflozin 300 mg
Canagliflozin 100 mg MD 0.2 (95% CI, 0.05 to 0.36)
Dapagliflozin 10 mg MD 0.64 (95%CI, 0.45 to 0.83)
Empagliflozin 10 mg MD 0.49 (95% CI, 0.29 to 0.69)
Empagliflozin 25 mg MD 0.37 (95% CI, 0.16 to 0.58)
Canagliflozin had greater reductions in weight compared to other SGLT2 inhibitors; reached significance compared to empagliflozin 10 mg, empagliflozin 25 mg, and dapagliflozin 10 mg.
All SGLT2 inhibitors decreased SBP. Empagliflozin had significantly greater SBP reductions compared to canagliflozin 300 mg.
Combination Therapy with Metformin
Greater proportions of patients on empagliflozin 10 mg, empagliflozin 25 mg, and canagliflozin 300 mg achieved A1C less than 7% compared to dapagliflozin 10 mg.
Reductions in A1C were greatest with canagliflozin 300 mg but only reached significance when compared to canagliflozin 100 mg.
SGLT2 inhibitors were found to be more effective than placebo in achieving A1C less than 7% and reducing A1C, weight and SBP when used alone or in combination with metformin.
Canagliflozin 300 mg monotherapy was associated with greater reductions in A1C compared to other SGLT2 inhibitors.
Differences among SGLT2 inhibitors were less in combination therapy.
Composite of death from CV causes, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke
Empagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.86 (95% CI 0.74 to 0.99, p = 0.04)
Death from any cause
Empagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.68 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.82, p less than 0.001)
Death from CV causes
Empagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.62 (95% CI 0.49 to 0.77, p less than 0.001)
Hospitalization for heart failure
Empagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.65 (95% CI 0.5 to 0.85, p = 0.002)
Incidence of genital infections was higher with ertagliflozin compared to placebo.
Empagliflozin significantly reduced risk of the composite outcome of death from cardiovascular causes, nonfatal myocardial infarction, or nonfatal stroke compared to placebo when added to standard care in adult patients with type 2 diabetes at high cardiovascular risk.
Empagliflozin also significantly reduced death from any cause and hospitalization for heart failure.
Genital infections occurred at a higher rate with empagliflozin compared to placebo.
Death from CV causes, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.86 (95% CI 0.75 to 0.97, p less than 0.001 for noninferiority and p = 0.02 for superiority)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.68 (95% CI 0.74 to 1.01, NS)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.87 (95% CI 0.72 to 1.06, NS)
Progression of albuminuria
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.73 (95% CI 0.67 to 0.79)
Regression of albuminuria
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 1.7 (95% CI 1.51 to 1.91, NS)
Sustained 40% reduction in eGFR, need for renal-replacement therapy or death from renal causes
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.6 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.77)
Higher rate of amputation of toes, feet, or legs with canagliflozin vs. placebo; 6.3 vs. 3.4 per 1,000 patient years, p less than 0.001. [HR 1.97 (95% CI 1.41 to 2.75)]
Higher rate of fractures with canagliflozin vs. placebo; 15.4 vs. 11.9 per 1,000 patient years, p = 0.02. [HR 1.26, (95% CI 0.99 to 1.52)]
Photosensitivity, male genitalia infection, and mycotic genital infection in women (CANVAS only) were significantly higher with canagliflozin.
Patients in the canagliflozin group had a significantly lower risk of the primary composite outcome of death from CV causes, nonfatal MI, or nonfatal stroke.
This study shows a potential benefit of canagliflozin slowing the progression to albuminuria and composite outcome of sustained 40% reduction in eGFR, need for renal-replacement therapy or death from renal causes.
Canagliflozin was associated with significantly more cases of amputations (toe, foot, or leg) and fractures.
Perkovic V, et al. N Engl J Med. 2019:380:2295-2306.
Primary Composite Endpoint (ESKD, doubling of serum creatinine, renal death, or CV death)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.70 (95% CI 0.59 to 0.82, p less than 0.0001)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.68 (95% CI 0.54 to 0.86)
Doubling of serum creatinine
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.60 (95% CI 0.48 to 0.76)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.78 (95% CI 0.61 to 1)
CV deathor hospitalization for HF
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.69 (95% CI 0.57 to 0.83, p less than 0.001)
CV death, non-fatal MI or non-fatal stroke
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.80 (95% CI 0.67 to 0.95, p less than 0.02)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.81 (95% CI 0.59 to 1.10)
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.80 (95% CI 0.56 to 1.15)
Hospitalization for HF
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.61 (95% CI 0.47 to 0.80, p less than 0.001)
ESKD, doubling of serum creatinine or renal death
Canagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.66 (95% CI 0.53 to 0.81), p less than 0.0001)
Rates of adverse events and serious adverse events were similar overall in the canagliflozin group and the placebo group. There were no significant differences in rates of amputation or fracture.
This trial was stopped early because there was clear evidence of the benefit observed for the primary outcome and composite of ESKD or death from renal and CV causes.
In patients with T2DM and kidney disease, the risk of the primary composite outcome of ESKD, doubling of the serum creatinine level, or death from renal or CV causes was lower in the canagliflozin group than in the placebo group.
Patients in the canagliflozin group also had lower risks of ESKD, hospitalization for HF, and the composite of CV death, MI, or stroke.
Wiviott SD, et al. N Engl J Med. 2019:380:347-357.
Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled phase 3 trial (DECLARE-TIMI 58, n = 17,160) to compare the effect of dapagliflozin (n = 8,582) on MACE and a composite of CV death or hospitalization for HF versus placebo (n = 8,578) in adult patients with T2DM with a history or high risk of CV events.
Primary Composite Endpoint of Hospitalization for HF, CV death
Dapagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.83 (95% CI 0.73 to 0.95, p less than 0.005)
Primary Composite Endpoint of CV death, MI, Ischemic stroke
Dapagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.93 (95% CI 0.84 to 1.03)
Dapagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.73 (95% CI 0.61 to 0.88)
Dapagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.98 (95% CI 0.82 to 1.17)
Dapagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 0.89 (95% CI 0.77 to 1.01)
Dapagliflozin vs. placebo: HR 1.01 (95% CI 0.84 to 1.21)
Abbreviations: CI, confidence interval; CV, cardiovascular; DM, diabetes mellitus; ESKD, end-stage kidney disease; FPG, fasting plasma glucose; HF, heart failure; HR, hazard ratio; MACE, major adverse cardiovascular events; MD, mean difference; MI, myocardial infarction; NS, not significant; RR, relative risk; SBP, systolic blood pressure;
Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are associated with an increased risk of serious urinary tract infection (UTI), including urosepsis and pyelonephritis. Cases of urosepsis reported to the FDA required hospitalization. In a couple of cases, patients required hemodialysis to treat renal failure. The median time to onset was 45 days (range 2 to 270 days). Genital mycotic infections and UTIs are the most common adverse reactions experienced in both male and female patients prescribed SGLT2 inhibitors. Patients with a history of genital mycotic infection, including vaginitis or balanitis, may be more likely to develop a genital mycotic infection on SGLT2 inhibitor therapy. Patients should be told to report any signs of urinary tract infection and seek medical attention if they experience symptoms such as a feeling of burning when urinating or the need to urinate often or right away, pain in the lower part of the stomach area or pelvis, fever, or blood in the urine. If urinary tract infection is suspected, treat promptly if indicated.
SGLT2 inhibitors result in an osmotic diuresis, which may lead to reductions in intravascular volume. In clinical studies, treatment was associated with an increase in the incidence of volume depletion related adverse reactions (e.g., hypotension, postural dizziness, orthostatic hypotension, syncope, and dehydration). Patients at risk include those with dehydration or hypovolemia, particularly in patients with impaired renal function (i.e., eGFR less than 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2), the elderly 75 years or greater, patients receiving diuretics, or patients with low systolic blood pressure. Volume status should be assessed and corrected before initiating SGLT2 inhibitors in patients with one or more of these characteristics. Monitor for signs and symptoms after initiating therapy.
SGLT2 inhibitors have a low risk of hypoglycemia as monotherapy; however, the risk may increase with concomitant administration with sulfonylureas and/or insulin. Consider reducing the dosage of concomitantly administered insulin secretagogues or insulin.
Canagliflozin was associated with a 2-fold increase in lower limb (toe, foot, and leg) amputations in the CANVAS and CANVAS-R studies involving patients with established or at high risk for cardiovascular disease. Safety information from large, more recent clinical trials suggests that the risk of amputation, while still increased with canagliflozin, is lower than previously described by these studies, particularly when appropriately monitored.   Monitor patients for infection (osteomyelitis) of the legs and feet and instruct patients to notify their healthcare professional immediately if they notice any new pain or tenderness, unusual sensations, skin color changes, sores or ulcers, or infection in their legs or feet. Canagliflozin was also associated with a higher incidence of fractures in the CANVAS and CANVAS-R studies.
SGLT2 inhibitor therapy has been associated with a serious, rare, life-threatening infection called necrotizing fasciitis (tissue necrosis) of the perineum, also referred to as Fournier's gangrene, in both male and female patients (38 to 78 years of age). Among the identified and reported cases, all patients required both hospitalization and surgical debridement and some experienced diabetic ketoacidosis, acute kidney injury and septic shock; there was one death. The average time to onset was 9.2 months (range 5 days to 25 months). Signs and symptoms of Fournier's gangrene include tenderness, erythema, swelling in the genital or perineal area, fever, and malaise. If Fournier's gangrene is suspected, discontinue SGLT2 inhibitor therapy, immediately initiate antibiotic treatment and, if necessary, perform surgical debridement.
In general, the propensity of the SGLT2 inhibitors to exhibit drug interactions is low as these drugs are not reported to induce or inhibit the hepatic CYP450 enzyme system.
Canagliflozin interacts with potent UGT inducers. Concomitant administration of canagliflozin and rifampin resulted in a 51% decrease in canagliflozin area under the curve (AUC). Rifampin is a nonselective UGT enzyme inducer, including UGT1A9 and UGT2B4. Canagliflozin dose adjustment should be considered when coadministered with potent UGT enzyme inducers, such as rifampin, phenytoin, phenobarbital, and ritonavir. In patients taking a UGT enzyme inducer who have an eGFR greater than 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2, and are currently tolerating a canagliflozin dose of 100 mg once daily, increase the dose of canagliflozin to 200 mg (taken as two 100 mg tablets) once daily. In patients who require additional glycemic control after this increase, the dose may be increased to 300 mg once daily if tolerating canagliflozin 200 mg/day and the eGFR is more than 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2. In patients taking a UGT enzyme inducer who have an eGFR less than 60 mL/minute/1.73 m2, and are currently tolerating a canagliflozin dose of 100 mg once daily, increase the dose of canagliflozin to 200 mg (taken as two 100 mg tablets) once daily. Consider other antihyperglycemic therapy in patients who require additional glycemic control despite the 200 mg/day dose. Other SGLT-2 inhibitors are not known to interact. Decreases in the AUCs of dapagliflozin and ertugliflozin with coadministration of rifampin were not deemed clinically relevant; however, it may be prudent to monitor for changes in blood glucose during concomitant administration. The effect of UGT induction has not been studied with empagliflozin.   
SGLT2 inhibitors are contraindicated in patients with severe renal impairment, end-stage renal disease, or on dialysis. Post-marketing cases of acute kidney injury, some requiring hospitalization and dialysis, with SGLT2 inhibitor therapy have been reported. Predisposing factors for acute kidney injury may include hypovolemia, chronic renal insufficiency, congestive heart failure, concomitant medications, such as diuretics, angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), and nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Temporary discontinuation of SGLT2 therapy may be considered in patients with fluid losses (e.g., gastrointestinal illness or excessive heat exposure) or reduced fluid intake (e.g., acute illness or fasting). If acute kidney injury occurs, promptly discontinue SGLT2 inhibitors and treat the renal impairment.
Post-marketing cases of diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) has been reported in patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus receiving SGLT2 inhibitors; some cases have been fatal. Also, the FDA has identified 73 cases of ketoacidosis in patients with type 1 or type 2 diabetes treated with SGLT2 inhibitors. Predisposing factors for the development of DKA include insulin dose reduction, acute febrile illness, pancreatic disorders, alcohol abuse, and reduced caloric intake secondary to illness or surgery. If ketoacidosis is suspected, discontinue therapy and institute treatment, which may include insulin, fluids, and carbohydrate replacement.
Canagliflozin was associated with a 2-fold increased risk of lower limb amputations in patients with established or at risk of cardiovascular disease in the CANVAS and CANVAS-R studies. Safety information from large, more recent clinical trials suggests that the risk of amputation, while still increased with canagliflozin, is lower than previously described, particularly when appropriately monitored. Thus, canagliflozin product labels no longer carry a boxed warning regarding this concern. A majority of amputations involved the toe and midfoot, but amputations of the leg both above and below the knee were also reported. Patients who may be at risk for amputations include those with prior amputations, peripheral vascular disease, neuropathy, and diabetic foot ulcers. Health care professionals and patients should continue to recognize the importance of preventative foot care and monitor for new pain, tenderness, sores, ulcers, and infections in the legs and feet. Risk factors that may predispose patients to the need for amputation should be considered when choosing antidiabetic medicines.
Utilizing a urine glucose test or 1,5-anhydroglucitol (1,5-AG) assay to assess glycemic control is not recommended in patients taking SGLT2 inhibitors. It is recommended that patients taking any SGLT2 inhibitor use an alternative method for monitoring glycemic control.
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