Recently, two large randomized controlled trials which only included patients with underlying cardiovascular disease (CVD) or patients at high risk for CVD showed that two sodium glucose co-transporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT-2is) significantly reduced hospitalization for heart failure (hHF), with an early separation in the survival curves for hHF. There were concerns whether SGLT-2i use could protect hHF in patients without CVD and how soon SGLT-2i-treated patients show a lower risk of hHF. Thus, we aimed to evaluate whether the heart failure protective effect of SGLT-2i differs depending on the underlying CVD and the prescription period compared with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 inhibitors (DPP-4i).
We performed a nationwide retrospective observational study to estimate the effect of SGLT-2i on HF. The 59,479 SGLT-2i new-users were matched with same number of DPP-4i new-users through propensity score matching using 53 confounding variables. Kaplan–Meier (K–M) curves and Cox proportional hazards regression analyses were used to estimate the risk of hospitalization for hHF.
The incidence rates of hHF were 0.83 and 1.13 per 100 person-years in SGLT-2i-treated patients and DPP-4i-treated patients, respectively. The hazard ratios of hHF were 0.66 (95% confidence interval 0.58–0.75) in SGLT-2i-treated patients compared with the DPP-4i-treated patients. Among the patients with underlying CVD, SGLT-2i-treated patients were associated with a lower risk of hHF from 30 days to 3 years after initiating drugs compared with DPP-4i. However, SGLT-2i use only showed a lower risk of hHF with a significant difference 3 years after drug initiation among patients without underlying CVD.
Our findings suggest that SGLT-2i reduced hHF compared with DPP-4i. A heart failure protective effect of SGLT-2i use vs. DPP-4i use was shown 30 days after initiating the SGLT-2i among patients with established CVD, but this effect appeared later in patients without established CVD.