Purpose of review
Glucose-lowering medications have become strong choices for purposes beyond glucose control in both patients with and without type 2 diabetes. Recent studies have explored the use of specific glucose-lowering therapies in areas such as cardiovascular disease, renal disease, obesity, nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NAFLD), and Alzheimer's disease, among others. This begs the question if glycemic parameters should be the sole criteria utilized for initiation of diabetes therapeutic agents.
Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists in particular have demonstrated significant benefits beyond glucose control, with each demonstrating improvement, to various extent, on cardiovascular and renal outcomes, disease-modifying weight loss, progression from prediabetes, and treatment of NAFLD by ameliorating inflammation.
Clinical practice guidelines have been updated to reflect the use of these medications to achieve cardiometabolic, renal, and weight goals in addition to glycemic control. The success of glucose-lowering medications in the aforementioned areas have informed the research pursuits in investigating these agents for their anti-inflammatory, neuroprotective, and lipotoxic reduction effects in other diseases entirely.