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Department of Family Medicine and Community Health

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Cardiovascular Diseases | Endocrine System Diseases | Nutritional and Metabolic Diseases | Surgical Procedures, Operative


BACKGROUND: The association between sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 inhibitors (SGLT2i's) and lower extremity amputation is unclear.

PURPOSE: To systematically review randomized control trials (RCTs) and observational studies quantifying risk of lower extremity amputations associated with SGLT2i use.

DATA SOURCES AND STUDY SELECTION: We searched PubMed, EMBASE, Scopus, and the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials from January 2011 to February 2020 for RCTs and observational studies including lower extremity amputation outcomes for individuals with type 2 diabetes mellitus treated with SGLT2i's vs. alternative treatments or placebo.

DATA EXTRACTION AND SYNTHESIS: Two reviewers independently extracted data.

MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES: Our primary outcome was risk of lower limb amputation. Secondary outcomes included peripheral arterial disease, peripheral vascular disease, venous ulcerations, and diabetic foot infections. We also evaluated the risk of bias. We conducted random and fixed effects relative risk meta-analysis of RCTs.

RESULTS: After screening 2,006 studies, 12 RCTs and 18 observational studies were included, of which 7 RCTs and 18 observational studies had at least one event. The random effects meta-analysis of 7 RCTs suggested the absence of a statistically significant association between SGLT2i exposure with evidence of substantial statistical heterogeneity (n = 424/23,716 vs n = 267/18,737 in controls; RR 1.28, CI's 0.93-1.76; I2 = 62.0%; p = 0.12) whereas fixed effects analysis showed an increased risk with statistical heterogeneity (RR 1.27, 1.09-1.48; I2 = 62%; p = 0.003). Subgroup analysis of canagliflozin vs placebo showed a statistically significantly increased risk in a fixed effects meta-analysis (n = 2 RCTs, RR 1.59, 1.26-2.01; I2 = 88%; p = 0.0001) whereas the meta-analysis of dapagliflozin or empagliflozin (n = 2 RCTs each) and a single RCT for ertugliflozin did not show a significantly increased risk. The findings from observational studies were too heterogeneous to be pooled in a meta-analysis and draw meaningful conclusions. Both randomized and observational studies were of generally good methodological quality.

CONCLUSIONS: Overall, there was no consistent evidence of SGLT2i exposure and increased risk of amputation. The increased risk of amputation seen in the large, long-term Canagliflozin Cardiovascular Assessment Study (CANVAS) trial for canagliflozin, and select observational studies, merits continued exploration.


Metaanalysis, Observational studies, Comparators, Peripheral vascular disease, Diabetes mellitus, Systematic reviews, Type 2 diabetes, Randomized controlled trials

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Copyright: © 2020 Heyward et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

DOI of Published Version



Heyward J, Mansour O, Olson L, Singh S, Alexander GC. Association between sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and lower extremity amputation: A systematic review and meta-analysis. PLoS One. 2020 Jun 5;15(6):e0234065. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0234065. PMID: 32502190; PMCID: PMC7274434. Link to article on publisher's site

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PloS one

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.