Cardiovascular outcome studies in type 2 diabetes: Comparison between SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists


Sodium-glucose cotransporter type 2 inhibitors (SGLT2is) and glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) are two pharmacological classes that have proven their efficacy to reduce major cardiovascular events (MACEs) in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) and established cardiovascular disease in large prospective cardiovascular outcome trials (CVOTs): EMPA-REG OUTCOME (empagliflozin), CANVAS (canagliflozin), LEADER (liraglutide) and SUSTAIN 6 (semaglutide). Some heterogeneity appears to exist between the various agents within the two pharmacological classes. Whether these positive results could be extrapolated to patients without cardiovascular disease is still unknown. The underlying mechanisms remain a matter of debate but appear to differ between SGLT2is and GLP-1RAs. One crucial question is which patient’s characteristics should be taken into account to guide the choice between a SGLT2i or a GLP-1RA according to a personalized approach. Heart failure should encourage the use of a SGLT2i whereas moderate to severe chronic kidney disease should favour the prescription of a GLP-1RA. Despite the results of recent CVOTs, numerous patients who are good candidates for benefiting of these agents do not receive them in clinical practice. Currently, there is a paradigm shift in T2DM management, moving from a primary objective of glucose control to a cardiovascular and renal protection.

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Scheen AJ. Diabetes Res Clin Pract 2018;143:88–100.