Glucagon-Like Peptide 1 Receptor Agonists Versus Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter 2 Inhibitors for Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease in Patients With Type 2 Diabetes

Hidekatsu Yanai, Hiroki Adachi, Mariko Hakoshima, Hisayuki Katsuyama


Beyond improving hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) in adults with type 2 diabetes, glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RA) have been approved for reducing risk of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE) with established cardiovascular disease (CVD) or multiple CV risk factors. Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i) also reduced the risk for the primary composite CV outcome in patients with type 2 diabetes at high risk for CV events. In the American Diabetes Association (ADA) and European Association of Study in Diabetes (EASD) consensus report 2022, there is the description “In people with established atherosclerotic CVD (ASCVD) or with a high risk for ASCVD, GLP-1RA were prioritized over SGLT2i”; however, the evidence supporting such statement is limited. Therefore, we studied the superiority of GLP-1RA over SGLT2i for prevention of ASCVD from various viewpoints. We could not find a meaningful difference in the risk reduction in three-point MACE (3P-MACE), mortality due to any cause, mortality due to CV cause and nonfatal myocardial infarction between GLP-1RA and SGLT2i trials. The risk of nonfatal stroke decreased in all five GLP-1RA trials; however, two of three SGLT2i trials showed an increase in risk of nonfatal stroke. The risk of hospitalization for heart failure (HHF) decreased in all three SGLT2i trials, and one GLP-1RA trial showed an increase in risk of HHF. The risk reduction of HHF in SGLT2i trials was greater than that in GLP-1RA trials. These findings were consistent with current systematic reviews and meta-analyses. The risk reduction of 3P-MACE was significantly and negatively correlated with changes in HbA1c (R = -0.861, P = 0.006) and body weight (R = -0.895, P = 0.003) in GLP-1RA and SGLT2i trials. The studies using SGLT2i failed to reduce carotid intima media thickness (cIMT), the surrogate marker for atherosclerosis; however, several studies using GLP-1RA successfully reduced cIMT in patients with type 2 diabetes. Compared with SGLT2i, GLP-1RA had a higher probability of decreasing serum triglyceride. GLP-1RA have multiple vascular biological anti-atherogenic properties.

Cardiol Res. 2023;14(1):12-21


Atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease; Carotid intima media thickness; Glucagon-like peptide 1 receptor agonists; Sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors; Triglyceride; Vascular biology

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