Use of Glucose-Lowering Agents in Diabetes and CKD.

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Kidney Int Rep


washington; spokane


Diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure worldwide. Patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease (CKD) are also at markedly higher risk of cardiovascular disease, particularly heart failure (HF), and death. Through the processes of gluconeogenesis and glucose reabsorption, the kidney plays a central role in glucose homeostasis. Insulin resistance is an early alteration observed in CKD, worsened by the frequent presence of hypertension, obesity, and ongoing chronic inflammation, and oxidative stress. Management of diabetes in moderate to severe CKD warrants special consideration because of changes in glucose and insulin homeostasis and altered metabolism of glucose-lowering therapies. Kidney failure and initiation of kidney replacement therapy by dialysis adds to management complexity by further limiting therapeutic options, and predisposing individuals to hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia. Glycemic goals should be individualized, considering CKD severity, presence of macrovascular and microvascular complications, and life expectancy. A general hemoglobin A1c (HbA1c) goal of approximately 7% may be appropriate in earlier stages of CKD, with more relaxed targets often appropriate in later stages. Use of sodium glucose cotransporter2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagon like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1RAs) meaningfully improves kidney and heart outcomes for patients with diabetes and CKD, irrespective of HbA1c targets, and are now part of guideline-directed medical therapy in this high-risk population. Delivery of optimal care for patients with diabetes and CKD will require collaboration across health care specialties and disciplines.

Clinical Institute

Kidney & Diabetes