Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a novel insulin-independent therapy for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). By inhibiting renal glucose re-absorption, they improve glycaemic control and have beneficial effects on weight and blood pressure. Current guidance states that any new diabetes medication must be shown not to unacceptably increase cardiovascular risk. The landmark EMPA-REG OUTCOME (Empagliflozin Cardiovascular Outcome Event Trial in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients) trial demonstrated that treatment with the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin compared with placebo showed a significant reduction in the risk of major cardiovascular end points and hospitalisation for heart failure for patients with T2DM and existing cardiovascular disease. A positive impact on several renal outcomes was also demonstrated in secondary analysis. These milestone results are set to have significant implications on prescribing practice in T2DM, with potential benefits for many patients with existing cardiovascular disease.
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