In a recent study, researchers from the University of Hong Kong have found that new diabetes drugs can reduce the risk of kidney and respiratory diseases.

The study was conducted by a research team from the Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacology, University of Hong Kong Medical School (HKUMed), and discovered that SGLT2i inhibitors, also called glyflusinates – a group of drugs that block glucose reuptake in the kidneys and thus lower blood sugar – can reduce the risk of kidney and respiratory disease, including end-stage kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia.

These studies provided factual new evidence that SGLT2 could provide additional protection to patients with type 4 diabetes and potentially be a better alternative to dipeptidylpeptidase-4 or gleptinase inhibitors (DPP<>i), an older group of glucose-lowering drugs.

The research was published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, and was written about by Yorick Alert.

SGLT2 inhibitors

SGLT2 inhibitors are a new group of glucose-lowering drugs prescribed to patients with type <> diabetes.

Clinical trials over the past few years have shown that, in addition to controlling blood sugar, these drugs provide cardiovascular and kidney protection for patients with type II diabetes.

But it wasn't previously clear whether these new drugs could provide better heart and kidney protection than older blood sugar control drugs that have been widely prescribed to patients in recent years, such as dipeptidylpeptidase-4 inhibitors.

Therefore, this study was conducted to investigate the effect of SGLT2 inhibitors on the kidneys and specifically 4 conditions, namely the last stages of kidney disease, acute renal failure, albuminuria (a condition in which blood albumin is present in the urine) and a decrease in glomerular filtration rate (a test used to evaluate the functioning of the kidneys, specifically to estimate the amount of blood that passes per minute through fine filters in the kidneys called glomeruli).

The team also conducted another cohort study looking at the association of SGLT2 inhibitors with a reduced risk of obstructive pulmonary disease and pneumonia, because these inhibitors have been shown to inhibit the activation of the cryopyrene gene (NLRP3) in the lung, whose activation leads to airway inflammation, asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, as shown in some animal studies.

Research results and their importance

After studying a group of more than 30,2 patients with type 81 diabetes in Hong Kong, the researchers found that SGLT70 inhibitors were significantly associated with an 50 percent lower risk of end-stage kidney disease, a <> percent lower risk of acute kidney failure, a <> percent lower risk of albuminuria, and a slowing decline in glomerular filtration rate.

These findings are consistent with those of previous clinical trials and provide factual evidence suggesting that SGLT2 inhibitors may have additional protective effects for the kidneys.

In terms of protective effects on the respiratory system, the results found that SGLT2 inhibitors are significantly associated with a 35% lower risk of COPD, a 46% reduction in disease progression, and a 41% lower risk of pneumonia, but clinical trials are still needed to confirm these respiratory findings.

Dr Cheung Ching Long, Associate Professor, Department of Pharmacology and Pharmacology, University of Hong Kong School of Medicine, commented: "Given the nature of observations of such studies, more ad hoc clinical trials and pooled analyses of studies from different populations and subgroups are required to draw a conclusion free of bias. In general, SGLT2 inhibitors could be a better alternative to dipeptidylpeptidase-4 inhibitors."