Empagliflozin and decreased risk of nephrolithiasis: a potential new role
for SGLT2 inhibition?
Priyadarshini Balasubramanian, Christoph Wanner, João Pedro Ferreira, Anne Pernille Ofstad, Amelie Elsaesser, Bernard Zinman, Silvio E Inzucchi
Context.Diabetes mellitus is a risk factor for nephrolithiasis. A recent observational study found that in patients with type 2 diabetes (T2D), SGLT2 inhibitor use was associated with a 49% lower risk of nephrolithiasis compared with GLP-1 receptor agonists.
Objective. We examined the association between nephrolithiasis and the SGLT2 inhibitor empagliflozin, using existing data from randomized clinical trials.
Methods. We pooled data from 15 081 T2D patients randomized to empagliflozin (n = 10 177) or placebo (n = 4904) from 20 phase I-IV trials, including the large cardiovascular outcome trial, EMPA-REG OUTCOME. Incident urinary tract stone events were captured using a predefined collection of MedRA terms. A sensitivity analysis using a narrower definition was also performed. Incidence rate ratios (IRR) and 95% CIs were calculated using the relative risk estimate, stratified by study.
Results. The median exposures to study drug were 543 days (placebo) and 549 days (empagliflozin); 183 patients experienced an incident urolithiasis during follow-up (placebo, 79; empagliflozin, 104), yielding annual incidence rates of 1.01 vs 0.63 events/100 patient-years in the 2 respective groups. The IRR was 0.64 (95% CI, 0.48-0.86), in favor of empagliflozin. In the sensitivity analysis, the results were similar (IRR, 0.62 [95% CI, 0.45-0.85]). Conclusion. Compared with placebo, empagliflozin therapy was associated with an approximate 40% reduced risk of urinary tract stone events in T2D patients. The underlying mechanisms are unknown but may involve altered lithogenic profile of the urine. Dedicated randomized prospective clinical trials are warranted to confirm these initial observations in patients with and without T2D.
Keywords: nephrolithiasis, SGLT2 inhibitors, empagliflozin, type 2 diabetes mellitus.