In 2011, SGLT2 Inhibitors ranked #9 of 10 Medical Innovations slated to change patient care in the year 2012. A novel diabetes therapy, SGLT2 inhibitors represented a paradigm shift in treatment by reducing blood sugar in a totally new way – causing it to be excreted during urination. A once-a-day medication, SGLT2 inhibitors provided an alternative to traditional insulin – which lowers blood sugar by moving glucose into the cells.
At the time of its Top 10 award, several SGLT2 inhibitors were on the cusp of approval. Today, there are three SGLT2 inhibitors approved by the FDA for use with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type II diabetes. But recent studies show SGLT2 inhibitor benefit in preventing heart failure and kidney disease, as well. Some SGLT2 inhibitors have even been approved to reduce the risk of MACE in adults with type II diabetes and established cardiovascular disease.
The drugs’ demonstrated ability to reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular deaths, has clinicians exploring its use in a broader population. A new implication for SGLT2 inhibitors, several of the drugs are in ongoing Phase III clinical trials in heart failure patients without diabetes.
Tentative approval of these drugs for the broader, non-diabetic HF population contributes to the trend of agents becoming cardiovascular drugs that happen to lower blood glucose, rather than the other way around. Finding new/expanded use for existing compounds is consistently helping us innovate toward better care for more patients.