JAN 12, 2021 10:58 AM PST

SGLT2 Inhibitors Can Reduce the Cardiovascular Risk for Diabetics Being Treated with Insulin

WRITTEN BY: Jasper Cantrell

One of the biggest problems that come alongside diabetes is the increased risk of cardiovascular disease. Treatment of diabetes often reduces the risk, but some scientists wonder if the treatments reduce the risk by treating diabetes or directly affecting the cardiovascular system.

One of the go-to treatments for type 2 diabetes is a sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor. This protein is a regulator of sugar in the blood, and its inhibition can increase the amount of sugar excreted by the bladder. Dapagliflozin, empagliflozin, and canagliflozin are all drugs that use this mechanism to control sugar levels in diabetic patients. Still, some recent evidence suggests these may also independently reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.

In a new study, a team from the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf in Germany wanted to investigate further. A few recent studies have shown that SGLT2 inhibitors lowered the risk of cardiovascular hospitalization or death in patients with diabetes. However, these studies were conducted in the absence of insulin, a common diabetes treatment. This new study investigated whether the reduced cardiovascular risk could also be seen in patients treated with insulin.

To do this, the team examined the cardiovascular biomarkers hematocrit, red blood cell count, and reticulocyte in a double-blind, randomized trial. All are indicators of cardiovascular risk. Enrolled patients were being treated with insulin and were put in either a placebo group or given a certain dose of the SGLT2 inhibitor dapagliflozin.

The study found that dapagliflozin treatment increased both hematocrit levels in the blood and red blood cell count across the 104-week trial. Reticulocytes, a precursor to red blood cells, increased during the first 4-weeks but then dropped back down to levels akin to the placebo group. These results suggest that SGLT2 inhibitors have the same effect against cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients treated with insulin as they do with patients not being treated with insulin.

This study followed markers of cardiovascular risk during dapagliflozin treatment in a group of diabetic patients already being treated with insulin. They did not independently measure the onset of cardiovascular disease in their study, however previous studies had found that the increases to hematocrit, red blood cell count, and reticulocytes correlate well with a reduced cardiovascular risk in diabetic patients.  

The study concludes, “In summary, we show that dapagliflozin induces a long-term and dose-dependent elevation in haematocrit that is preserved in patients receiving concomitant insulin treatment, including chronic insulin therapy.”

Sources: Nature Scientific Reports, AJMCtv

About the Author
  • Hey everyone! My name is Jasper and, considering I am pretty new here to Labroots, I figured I would introduce myself. I received my bachelor’s from the University of California at Riverside back in 2016. I started off my career a few years ago with a job at a University over in New York, before moving over into the industry. I'm happy to be writing content for Labroots, and I hope you enjoy it!
You May Also Like
NOV 20, 2020
Neuroscience
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Autoimmune Disease
NOV 20, 2020
The Link Between Sleep Apnea and Autoimmune Disease
Researchers from the University of Georgia have found more evidence for the link between obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) a ...
DEC 08, 2020
Cardiology
The Protein Galectin-1 Could Act as a Prognostic Marker for Coronary Artery Disease
DEC 08, 2020
The Protein Galectin-1 Could Act as a Prognostic Marker for Coronary Artery Disease
The complexity of life works in many ways. Proteins, the primary things doing work in cells, can be modified after being ...
DEC 08, 2020
Cardiology
Some Stroke Risk Disparities May be Linked to Heart Structure
DEC 08, 2020
Some Stroke Risk Disparities May be Linked to Heart Structure
Scientists have found that there are structural differences in the heart's left atrium in Black and white people, an ...
JAN 25, 2021
Cardiology
Obesity's Poor Health Impact Not Overcome by Exercise
JAN 25, 2021
Obesity's Poor Health Impact Not Overcome by Exercise
While there has been limited evidence that activity and fitness can counter the health impacts of excess body fat, a new ...
APR 01, 2021
Health & Medicine
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
APR 01, 2021
Flavanol-rich Foods Protect Heart from Stress
Drinking hot cocoa is comforting on cold winter nights, and new research from the University of Birmingham shows that it ...
APR 06, 2021
Cardiology
In 2020, Deaths in the US Were Over 20% Higher Than Typical Years
APR 06, 2021
In 2020, Deaths in the US Were Over 20% Higher Than Typical Years
Researchers have begun to analyze the impact of the pandemic, and their work has shown that long COVID-19 surges in the ...
Loading Comments...