Document Type: Review Article
Consultant Physician and Endocrinologist, Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology, Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, P O Box 59472, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are a new glucose-lowering therapy for T2DM with documented benefits on blood glucose, hypertension, weight reduction and long term cardiovascular benefit. They have an inherent osmotic diuretic effect and lead to some volume loss and possible dehydration. There is some concern about the safety of using SGLT2 inhibitors in Muslim type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) patients during the fast during Ramadan. Currently, there is a dearth of research data to help guide physicians and reassure patients. One study confirmed good glycemic control with less risk of hypoglycemia and no marked volume depletion. Data in the elderly and in combination with diuretics are reassuring of their safe to use in Ramadan in general. SGLT2 inhibitor-related diabetic ketoacidosis has not been reported during Ramadan and is unlikely to be relevant. Survey of physicians revealed that the majority felt that SGLT2 inhibitors are generally safe in T2DM patients during Ramadan fasting but should be discontinued in certain high risk patients. Some professional groups with interest in diabetes and Ramadan fasting included SGLT2 inhibitors in their guidelines on management of diabetes during Ramadan. They acknowledged the lack of trial data, recommended caution in high risk groups, advised regular monitoring and emphasized pre-Ramadan patients’ education. In conclusion, currently, knowledge, data and experience with SGLT2 inhibitors in Ramadan are limited. Nonetheless, stable patients with normal kidney function and low risk of dehydration may safely use the SGLT2 inhibitors therapy. Higher risk patients should be observed carefully and managed on individual basis.