Despite the number of medications for type 2 diabetes, many people with the condition do not achieve good glycaemic control. Some existing glucose-lowering agents have adverse effects such as weight gain or hypoglycaemia. Type 2 diabetes tends to be a progressive disease, and most patients require treatment with combinations of glucose-lowering agents. The sodium glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) receptor inhibitors are a new class of glucose-lowering agents.
To assess the clinical effectiveness and safety of the SGLT2 receptor inhibitors in dual or triple therapy in type 2 diabetes.
MEDLINE, Embase, Cochrane Library (all sections); Science Citation Index; trial registries; conference abstracts; drug regulatory authorities; bibliographies of retrieved papers.
Randomised controlled trials of SGLT2 receptor inhibitors compared with placebo or active comparator in type 2 diabetes in dual or combination therapy.
Systematic review. Quality assessment used the Cochrane risk of bias score.
Seven trials, published in full, assessed dapagliflozin and one assessed canagliflozin. Trial quality appeared good. Dapagliflozin 10 mg reduced HbA1c by −0.54% (weighted mean differences (WMD), 95% CI −0.67 to −0.40) compared to placebo, but there was no difference compared to glipizide. Canagliflozin reduced HbA1c slightly more than sitagliptin (up to −0.21% vs sitagliptin). Both dapagliflozin and canagliflozin led to weight loss (dapagliflozin WMD −1.81 kg (95% CI −2.04 to −1.57), canagliflozin up to −2.3 kg compared to placebo).
Long-term trial extensions suggested that effects were maintained over time. Data on canagliflozin are currently available from only one paper. Costs of the drugs are not known so cost-effectiveness cannot be assessed. More data on safety are needed, with the Food and Drug Administration having concerns about breast and bladder cancers.
Dapagliflozin appears effective in reducing HbA1c and weight in type 2 diabetes, although more safety data are needed.