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Postgrad Med. 2012 Jul;124(4):62-73. doi: 10.3810/pgm.2012.07.2569.

Targeting renal glucose reabsorption for the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus using the SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin.

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Division of Endocrinology, Diabetes and Metabolic Diseases, Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, PA 19107, USA.


Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) plays a key role in glucose homeostasis as the key transporter responsible for most renal glucose reabsorption in the proximal tubules of the kidney. Dapagliflozin is a potent, selective, and reversible inhibitor of SGLT2 that lowers blood glucose levels in an insulin-independent fashion. This novel agent has been studied extensively in patients with type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). In these clinical trials, dapagliflozin significantly decreased glycated hemoglobin and fasting plasma glucose levels when administered alone or as add-on treatment in patients who were already receiving metformin, a sulfonylurea (glimepiride), pioglitazone, or insulin. Moreover, dapagliflozin decreased body weight when taken as monotherapy or in combination with metformin, a sulfonylurea, or insulin, and mitigated weight gain in patients receiving pioglitazone. Consistent with preclinical toxicology studies, dapagliflozin has a manageable adverse event profile that is largely predictable from its mechanism of action. While there are no clinically significant negative effects on renal function or electrolytes, dapagliflozin treatment is associated with increased frequencies of urinary tract infections and vulvovaginitis/balanitis. With a mechanism of action that is distinct from and complementary to that of existing antihyperglycemic therapies, dapagliflozin is an effective antihyperglycemic agent that is well tolerated and may enhance weight loss. As such, dapagliflozin promises to become an important adjunctive therapy for comprehensive treatment of T2DM.

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