Sodium glucose cotransporter (SGLT)-2 inhibitors: Do we need them for glucose-lowering, for cardiorenal protection or both?

Rosalie A. Scholtes, Michaël J. B. van Baar, Yuliya Lytvyn, Petter Bjornstad, Max Nieuwdorp, David Z. I. Cherney, Daniël H. van Raalte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)


Sodium glucose cotransporter (SGLT)-2 inhibitors are the newest addition to our treatment armamentarium for the management of hyperglycemia in type 2 diabetes. Glucose-lowering per se reduces the risk of microvascular complications, but not the risk of cardiovascular disease, including heart failure and cardiovascular mortality. Also, even when embedded in optimal cardiovascular prevention, a large residual risk remains with respect to progression of diabetic kidney disease. SGLT-2 inhibitors lower blood glucose levels by inducing glucosuria. Through various proposed mechanisms, among which diuretic and natriuretic effects, SGLT-2 inhibitors decrease heart failure hospitalization, reduce cardiovascular mortality, and mitigate progression of diabetic kidney disease. In this perspective, we will discuss the glucose-lowering and other protective effects of SGLT-2 inhibitors on the cardiorenal axis, both in primary and secondary prevention. By comparing the glycemic and pleiotropic effects of these agents to other glucose-lowering drugs, we will address questions around whether SGLT-2 inhibitors should be considered primarily as glucose-lowering agents, cardiorenal drugs or both.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-33
JournalDiabetes, obesity & metabolism
Issue numberS2
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • SGLT-2 inhibition
  • diabetic kidney disease
  • glycemic control
  • heart failure
  • number-needed-to-treat
  • primary prevention
  • secondary prevention

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