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Aim: To conduct a systematic review of observational studies to explore the real-world kidney benefits of sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors in a large and diverse population of adults with type 2 diabetes (T2D). Materials and Methods: We searched MEDLINE, EMBASE and Web of Science for observational studies that investigated kidney disease progression in adults with T2D treated with SGLT2 inhibitors compared to other glucose-lowering therapies. Studies published from database inception to July 2022 were independently reviewed by two authors and evaluated using the Risk of Bias in Non-randomized Studies of Interventions (ROBINS-I) tool. A random-effects meta-analysis was performed on studies with comparable outcome data, reported as hazard ratios (HRs) with 95% confidence intervals (CIs). Results: We identified 34 studies performed across 15 countries with a total population of 1 494 373 for inclusion. In the meta-analysis of 20 studies, SGLT2 inhibitors were associated with a 46% lower risk of kidney failure events compared with other glucose-lowering drugs (HR 0.54, 95% CI 0.47–0.63). This finding was consistent across multiple sensitivity analyses and was independent of baseline estimated glomerular filtration rate (eGFR) or albuminuria status. SGLT2 inhibitors were associated with a lower risk of kidney failure when compared with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors and a combination of other glucose-lowering drug classes (HR 0.50, 95% CI 0.38–0.67 and HR 0.51, 95% CI 0.44–0.59, respectively). However, when compared to glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists there was no statistically significant difference in the risk of kidney failure (HR 0.93, 95% CI 0.80–1.09). Conclusions: The reno-protective benefits of SGLT2 inhibitors apply to a broad population of adults with T2D treated in routine clinical practice, including those at lower risk of kidney events with normal eGFR and without albuminuria. These findings support the early use of SGLT2 inhibitors in T2D for preservation of kidney health.

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Journal article


Diabetes, Obesity and Metabolism

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