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Fracture risk of sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 inhibitors in chronic kidney disease

Cowan A, Jeyakumar N, Kang Y, Dixon SN, Garg AX, Naylor K, Weir MA, Clemens KK. Clin J Am Soc Nephrol. 2022; 17(6):835-42. Epub 2022 May 26. DOI:

Background and Objectives — Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors have been associated with a higher risk of skeletal fractures in some randomized, placebo-controlled trials. Secondary hyperparathyroidism and increased bone turnover (also common in CKD) may contribute to the observed fracture risk. We aimed to determine if SGLT2 inhibitor use associates with a higher risk of fractures compared with dipeptidyl peptidase-4 (DPP-4) inhibitors, which have no known association with fracture risk. We hypothesized that this risk, if present, would be greatest in patients with lower eGFR.

Design, Setting, Participants, and Measurements — We conducted a population-based cohort study in Ontario, Canada between 2015 and 2019 using linked provincial administrative data to compare the incidence of fracture between new users of SGLT2 inhibitors and DPP-4 inhibitors. We used inverse probability of treatment weighting on the basis of propensity scores to balance the two groups of older adults (≥66 years of age) on indicators of baseline health. We compared the 180- and 365-day cumulative incidence rates of fracture between groups. Prespecified subgroup analyses were conducted by eGFR category (≥90, 60 to <90, 45 to <60, and 30 to <45 ml/min per 1.73 m2). Weighted hazard ratios were obtained using Cox proportional hazard regression.

Results — After weighting, we identified a total of 38,994 new users of a SGLT2 inhibitor and 37,449 new users of a DPP-4 inhibitor and observed a total of 342 fractures at 180 days and 689 fractures at 365 days. The weighted 180- and 365-day risks of a fragility fracture did not significantly differ between new users of a SGLT2 inhibitor versus a DPP-4 inhibitor: weighted hazard ratio, 0.95 (95% confidence interval, 0.79 to 1.13) and weighted hazard ratio, 0.88 (95% confidence interval, 0.88 to 1.00), respectively. There was no observed interaction between fracture risk and eGFR category (P=0.53).

Conclusions — In this cohort study of older adults, starting a SGLT2 inhibitor versus DPP-4 inhibitor was not associated with a higher risk of skeletal fracture, regardless of eGFR.