A new tool has been developed to help doctors determine who would benefit the most from taking a class of type 2 diabetes drug.
Sodium-glucose co-transporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have been prescribed in the UK since 2013 and work by helping the kidneys to lower blood sugar levels.
The oral medications have significant benefits, but – like most drugs – there are also side effects, which is why a quick reference guide has been developed to provide clarity to clinicians in regard to common areas of confusion associated with the drugs.
In some cases combining SGLT2 inhibitors with insulin, sulphonylureas or glinides can increase the chances of hypoglycemia. SGLT2s have also been linked to rare but possible risks of developing diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA).
The document, ‘SGLT2 inhibitors in type 2 diabetes management: key evidence and implications for clinical practice’, was developed by the Improving Diabetes Steering Committee, a group of leading diabetes specialists in the UK.
The group brought together all the research that has been carried out on SGLT2 inhibitors in recent years to provide evidence-based guidance.
Professor John Wilding, who leads diabetes and obesity research at the University of Liverpool, and is one of the co-authors of the paper said: “Helping to improve education in diabetes management is key to improving outcomes in the UK.
“As a committee, our focus was on providing balanced, accurate and evidence-based guidance to help clinicians identify those patients who would benefit most from the SGLT2 [inhibitors] class of medicines.”
Dr Kevin Fernando, a GP partner at North Berwick Health Centre, near Edinburgh, and co-author of the paper, added: “Managing patients with type 2 diabetes is complex and can be challenging, particularly for clinicians working in primary care who are faced with many competing clinical priorities.
“We felt it was important to help provide every day, usable tools that will help healthcare professionals ensure their patients receive optimal care for their type 2 diabetes.”

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