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Sodium–glucose cotransporter-2 inhibition and acidosis in patients with type 2 diabetes: a review of US FDA data and possible conclusions

Authors D'Elia JA, Segal AR, Bayliss GP, Weinrauch LA

Received 1 March 2017

Accepted for publication 4 May 2017

Published 15 June 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 153—158


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewers approved by Dr Amy Norman

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Professor Pravin Singhal

John A D’Elia,1 Alissa R Segal,1,2 George P Bayliss,3 Larry A Weinrauch1

1Kidney and Hypertension Section, Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, 2Department of Pharmacy Practice, MCPHS University, Boston, MA, 3Division of Kidney Diseases and Hypertension, Rhode Island Hospital, Alpert Medical School, Brown University, Providence, RI, USA

Objective: To evaluate whether adverse event reports to the US Food and Drug Administration on incidents of ketoacidosis from use of sodium glucose cotransport inhibitors (SGLT2 inhibitors) provide insight into ways this new class of drugs is being prescribed with other antihyperglycemic agents; to examine possible mechanisms to explain ketoacidosis.
Design and methods: Reports of adverse events concerned to SGLT2 inhibitors, namely, empagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and canagliflozin were obtained under the Freedom of Information Act for 5 years ending in August 31, 2015. The data were evaluated for incidents of ketoacidosis by looking for keywords such as diabetic ketoacidosis, ketoacidosis, lactic acidosis, acidosis, and metabolic acidosis. Results were tabulated individually for empagliflozin (n=260 adverse event reports), dapagliflozin (n=520), and canagliflozin (n=2159). Adverse events were categorized according to age, gender, and insulin use.
Results: There were 46, 144, and 450 reports of ketoacidosis concerned with the use of empagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and canagliflozin, respectively. The use of SGLT2 inhibitors was not strictly limited to patients with type 2 diabetes but was cut across categories of insulin use, including a total of 172 cases of SGLT2-related ketoacidosis in individuals above the age of 40 who were not on insulin.
Conclusion: Further studies should focus to detect pleiotropic effects of SGLT2 inhibitors, particularly with other oral antihyperglycemic drugs or insulin. A review of the literature suggests that patients with type 2 diabetes with low C-peptide level may be at increased risk of ketoacidosis, particularly if they are on statins and diuretics due to hypokalemia and impaired release of insulin. More studies are warranted to further clarify these mechanisms.

Keywords: SGLT2 inhibitor, diabetes, ketoacidosis, acidosis, FDA

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