Conference Coverage

Type 2 diabetes drugs and their use are top of EASD agenda


This year’s virtual meeting of the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) offers new data and insights regarding the use of newer glucose-lowering agents for treating people with, and without, diabetes, as well as updates on diabetes technology, a symposium on COVID-19, and much more.

The meeting takes place live online September 22-25, Central European time, because it was to have been located in Vienna before the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced nearly all medical meetings to go virtual. However, as in years past, videos of all the sessions will be available to registrants for later viewing and to the public a month after the meeting ends. The registration fee is less than half the cost for previous years.

In fact, EASD was better prepared to go virtual than many other medical societies, and not just because they had more time to plan since the pandemic began, EASD president Stefano Del Prato, MD, told Medscape Medical News. “Starting in 2013 we already had a virtual congress in parallel to the face-to-face meeting. Everything at the congress was simultaneously available on streaming. That made us more confident in what we could achieve with a virtual meeting.”

Last year, the EASD meeting held in Barcelona was the first for which the number of virtual attendees equaled the number who attended in person, about 15,000 each. Another 80,000 people have accessed the video content in the year since.

“Maybe this is a unique occasion for reaching out to a really global audience,” said Del Prato, professor of endocrinology and metabolism and chief of the section of diabetes at the University of Pisa School of Medicine, Italy.

EASD Honorary Secretary Mikael Rydén, MD, PhD, the meeting’s program chair, told Medscape Medical News, “I’m really looking forward to this meeting because of the interactivity. I hope that, lacking the possibility of having a physical meeting, this is absolutely the best one can do.”

More cardiovascular and renal outcomes for SGLT2 inhibitors

The impact of the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor drug class beyond glucose-lowering has dominated the agenda of diabetes meetings for the past 5 years, and this EASD is no exception.

Here, new data will be presented for the previously reported EMPEROR-Reduced trial of empagliflozin (Jardiance, Boehringer Ingelheim/Eli Lilly) for patients with heart failure with or without diabetes; DAPA-CKD, on renal outcomes for dapagliflozin (Farxiga, AstraZeneca); and renal results from the VERTIS CV outcome trial of ertugliflozin (Steglatro, Merck).

Regarding DAPA-CKD, Del Prato noted, “We will have a greater opportunity ... to go deeper into the results during a 1-hour session.”

A related session, a joint EASD/European Society of Cardiology (ESC) symposium on the “dawn of cardiovascular risk reduction in type 2 diabetes” will review the development of SGLT2 inhibitors and the data accumulated for the drug class over the past 5 years since the landmark EMPA-REG OUTCOME trial was first reported at EASD in 2015.

The joint symposium, Rydénsaid, will be “extremely important for clinicians. It’s a revolution in type 2 diabetes treatment, and perhaps in those without diabetes who have heart failure...It’s not about a single company, but experts involved in all the different trials of the different SGLT2 inhibitors...We’re still seeing the huge impact that the SGLT2 inhibitors have made, and the incretins as well. We’re still living in these rumbling years after these huge trials.”

Del Prato also named that symposium as a meeting highlight.

“From a clinical point of view, I think the EMPA-REG 5-year session will be of great interest. That was really a turning point not only in the field of diabetes, but also in cardiology and nephrology. I think that will be a great opportunity to see how quickly and how importantly SGLT2 inhibition has turned into a great opportunity for many people.”


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