Many sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are approved for use at two doses, but there are few clinical data regarding the metabolic impact of uptitrating an SGLT2 inhibitor from the lower to the higher dose in clinical practice. Matsumura and colleagues published the results of a retrospective, longitudinal study at a single institution in Japan. A total of 52 participants who were treated with 10 mg empagliflozin once daily were analyzed at 26 weeks after the dose had been increased to 25 mg once daily. The researchers reported a 0.6 kg weight reduction, a 0.15% reduction in A1c, and a 22.1 mg/dL reduction in triglycerides in the participants on the higher dose of empagliflozin. Although the benefits of the higher dose were rather small, this study does aid the clinician regarding the clinical impact of increasing the dose of empagliflozin.
Outcome studies with SGLT2 inhibitors have shown reductions in major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE), heart failure hospitalization, and mortality. However, clinicians may be reluctant to initiate SGLT2 inhibitors in frail individuals as they are often excluded from randomized trials and may be more likely to have side effects from this class of medications. Wood and colleagues conducted a cohort study in Australia, comparing the effectiveness of SGLT2 inhibitors to that of dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors. The study was done with individuals with type 2 diabetes who were initiated on these agents within 60 days of a hospital discharge. It was noted that SGLT2 inhibitors significantly reduced MACE, heart failure hospitalization, and mortality compared with DPP-4 inhibitors, and this benefit was present in both frail and nonfrail individuals. The study did not report on tolerability issues and is limited by the cohort design, but it does suggest a cardiovascular benefit among frail patients with type 2 diabetes who are treated with SGLT2 inhibitors, and it may be reassuring when considering an SGLT2 inhibitor in a frail person.
In my July 2022 commentary , I discussed the results of AWARD-PEDS, which demonstrated a significant A1c reduction but no weight loss with the glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist (GLP-1RA) dulaglutide in youth with type 2 diabetes. Tamborlane and colleagues have now reported the results of a randomized trial that studied the efficacy and safety of 2 mg exenatide once weekly in youth with type 2 diabetes. Similarly to the AWARD-PEDS study, A1c was significantly reduced compared with placebo, with a difference of -0.85% at 24 weeks. Also similarly to AWARD-PEDS, there was no significant difference in body weight between the GLP-1RA and placebo groups. There are now three studies showing glycemic benefits but little weight loss with GLP-1RA treatment in youth with type 2 diabetes, and while the glycemic benefits are encouraging, it remains perplexing why these studies have not demonstrated the weight loss that has consistently been demonstrated in adult studies of GLP-1RA.
Clinicians often choose a second-generation basal insulin analog (glargine U300, degludec) over a first-generation basal analog (glargine U100, detemir) because of lower rates of hypoglycemia. Randomized clinical trials and real-world evidence (RWE) studies comparing glargine U100 vs degludec have shown somewhat inconsistent results. In the newest RWE study comparing these two second-generation analogs, RESTORE-2 NAIVE, Fadini and colleagues reported that 6 months after initiating either glargine U300 or degludec in insulin-naive type 2 diabetes, there was a similar improvement in glycemia, no weight gain, and low hypoglycemia rates in each group. RESTORE-2 is another study demonstrating similar results between the two second-generation insulin analogs and helps build our understanding that these two insulins are more similar than different.