Back to top

The treatment of type 2 diabetes in the presence of renal impairment: What we should know about newer therapies


Davies M, Chatterjee S, Khunti K. The treatment of type 2 diabetes in the presence of renal impairment: What we should know about newer therapies. Clin Pharmacol Adv Appl. 2016;8:61-81. 


Worldwide, an estimated 200 million people have chronic kidney disease (CKD), the most common causes of which include hypertension, arteriosclerosis, and diabetes. Importantly, ~40% of patients with diabetes develop CKD, yet evidence from major multicenter randomized controlled trials shows that intensive blood glucose control through pharmacological intervention can reduce the incidence and progression of CKD. Standard therapies for the treatment of type 2 diabetes include metformin, sulfonylureas, meglitinides, thiazolidinediones, and insulin. While these drugs have an important role in the management of type 2 diabetes, only the thiazolidinedione pioglitazone can be used across the spectrum of CKD (stages 2-5) and without dose adjustment; there are contraindications and dose adjustments required for the remaining standard therapies. Newer therapies, particularly dipeptidyl peptidase-IV inhibitors, glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists, and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors, are increasingly being used in the treatment of type 2 diabetes; however, a major consideration is whether these newer therapies can also be used safely and effectively across the spectrum of renal impairment. Notably, reductions in albuminuria, a marker of CKD, are observed with many of the drug classes. Dipeptidyl peptidase-IV inhibitors can be used in all stages of renal impairment, with appropriate dose reduction, with the exception of linagliptin, which can be used without dose adjustment. No dose adjustment is required for liraglutide, albiglutide, and dulaglutide in CKD stages 2 and 3, although all glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists are currently contraindicated in stages 4 and 5 CKD. At stage 3 CKD or greater, the sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors (dapagliflozin, canagliflozin, and empagliflozin) either require dose adjustment or are contraindicated. Ongoing trials, such as CARMELINA, MARLINA, CREDENCE, and CANVAS-R, will help determine the position of these new therapy classes and if they have renoprotective effects in patients with CKD.