Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are intended to treat Type 2 diabetes along with diet and exercise. They have also been prescribed for off-label, or unapproved, uses including weight loss.
The active ingredients in the drugs are different gliflozin compounds.
SGLT2 inhibitors approved for use in the U.S. include:
Invokana (canagliflozin) approved in 2013
Farxiga (dapagliflozin) approved in 2014
Jardiance (empagliflozin) approved in 2016
In addition, some medications combine SGLT2 inhibitors with other diabetes drugs. These include:
Invokamet (canagliflozin and metformin)
Invokamet XR (canagliflozin and metformin extended release)
Xigduo XR (dapagliflozin and metformin extended-release)
Glyxambi (empagliflozin and linagliptin)
Synjardy (empagliflozin and metformin)
Metformin decreases glucose production in the liver while increasing the body’s ability to absorb glucose. It is often used in conjunction with insulin as well as SGLT2 inhibitors to treat Type 2 diabetes. It carries additional risks of side effects. Linagliptin works by regulating insulin levels after meals.
When first approved, SGLT2 inhibitors took a revolutionary approach to controlling blood sugar in diabetic patients. The drugs cause the body to direct excess glucose to the kidneys. From there, it is expelled through a patient’s urine.