Recent large clinical trials on sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, with the aim of verifying cardiovascular safety, have revealed that these medications have a preventative advantage on adverse cardiovascular outcomes, including worsening of heart failure and deterioration of nephropathy, in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D). These observed benefits do not seem to correlate with the glucose-lowering effect, and the underlying mechanism is being intensively investigated. Given the results from recent studies, the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and the European Association for the Study of Diabetes (EASD) recommend that patients with T2D and clinical cardiovascular disease (CVD) with inadequate glucose control despite treatment with metformin should receive an SGLT2 inhibitor or GLP-1 receptor agonist. In this review we summarize the results of recent cardiovascular outcome trials and discuss the potential clinical advantage of SGLT2 inhibitors and GLP-1 receptor agonists. We also present practical implications of these glucose-lowering agents for reducing the risk of adverse cardiovascular events and progressive renal comorbidity in patients with T2D and CVD.
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