SGLT2’s help people with diabetes and protect against heart and kidney damage
Diabetes can cause many health complications. For example, diabetes is linked to heart and kidney disease. A type of medicine known as an SGLT2 inhibitor (SGLT2) is effective at helping people with type 2 diabetes (T2D) improve control of their blood sugar levels. SGLT2’s also protect people with T2D against kidney and heart damage. SGLT2’s have been shown to reduce death from heart-related causes and lower the risk of hospitalization for heart failure and kidney disease. Because of the benefits of SGLT2’s, the American Diabetes Association and the American College of Cardiology recommend SGLT2’s for patients with diabetes who have (or are at high risk for) heart disease, kidney problems, or heart failure.
Access to effective medicines for diabetes is unequal
Since SGLT2’s became available for T2D treatment, their use has greatly increased. However, new research shows that access to this type of medicine is biased depending on a person’s race and gender. People with lower incomes also appear to have limited access, especially if they have not seen an endocrinologist in the past 12 months.
Can we remove barriers to equal access to effective medicines?
Overall, use of SGLT2’s for the treatment of T2D in the U.S. increased from 2015 to 2019. However, rates remained low among patients with T2D and heart disease, heart failure or kidney problems. These are the same groups that would benefit the most. Black patients, female patients, and those with lower household income had lower rates of SGLT2 use. These findings suggest that race, gender, and socioeconomic status impact a person’s access to SGLT2 inhibitor treatment. More studies are essential to better understand barriers to these therapies and ensure equitable access to this important treatment.