From the Journals

No increase in UTI risk with SGLT-2 inhibitors



Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors do not appear to increase the risk of urinary tract infections, compared with other antidiabetic medications, new research has found.

In a paper published in Annals of Internal Medicine, researchers reported the outcomes of a population-based, propensity-matched cohort study in which the analyzed data from 235,730 individuals newly prescribed sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors, dipeptidyl peptidase–4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, and glucagonlike peptide–1 receptor (GLP-1) agonists.

In the first cohort, comparing SGLT-2 inhibitors with DDP-4 inhibitors, there were no significant differences between the two groups in the incidence rate of severe urinary tract infections (UTIs) (adjusted hazard ratio, 0.98; 95% confidence interval, 0.68-1.41).

In the second cohort, which compared patients taking GLP-1 receptor agonists with those taking SGLT-2 inhibitors, researchers saw a slightly lower incidence of severe UTIs among individuals on SGLT-2 inhibitors (HR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.53-0.99; P = .04).

The analysis also failed to find any evidence that SGLT-2 inhibitors were associated with an increase in the risk of hospitalization or outpatient treatment for a UTI.

Chintan V. Dave, PharmD – now at Rutgers University, New Brunswick, N.J. – and colleagues from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston, wrote that the findings have significant clinical implications.

“Patients who may be good candidates to receive SGLT-2 inhibitors for diabetes control but who have a history of recurrent UTIs may be precluded from being prescribed these agents; because UTIs are highly prevalent in patients with diabetes, this could exclude a substantial number of patients from receiving an entire class of medications that has been shown to decrease risk for major cardiovascular events and death,” they wrote.

The researchers stressed that “other factors beyond risk for UTI events should be considered in decisions about whether to prescribe SGLT-2 therapy for patients with diabetes.”

The authors did note that their study was subject to the usual limitations of observational studies, such as susceptibility to confounding, and was also limited to people with health insurance.

An accompanying editorial by Kristian B. Filion, PhD, and Oriana H. Yu, MD, of McGill University, Montreal, commented that the data provided reassuring, real-world evidence on the potential safety issue of UTI risk with SGLT-2 inhibitors.

However, they also stressed that the study excluded individuals at high risk or with a history of UTIs, and that these were subgroups who required further investigation.

The study was supported by the Harvard Medical School and the National Institute on Aging. Three authors reported support from private industry outside the submitted work.

SOURCE: Dave CV et al. Ann Intern Med. 2019 Jul 29. doi: 10.7326/M18-3136.

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