Steglatro: A New Medication for Diabetes Management

Meal planning and physical activity are always at the forefront of diabetes management. But when diet and exercise alone are not enough to keep your blood glucose – also called blood sugar, levels on target, it’s comforting to know effective medications are available. Since diabetes was identified as a disease, researchers continue to discover new medications to effectively manage diabetes.

On December 21, 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ertugliflozin – a new medication for use with diet and exercise to lower blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. Ertugliflozin belongs to a relatively new class of medication called sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors.

It might surprise you to know that SGLT2 inhibitors lower blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through the urine. Each day the kidneys filter approximately 45 gallons of blood, and virtually all of the glucose in this blood is reabsorbed into the bloodstream. Glucose reabsorption takes place in the kidneys by a protein called SGLT2.

In people with type 2 diabetes, the ability of the kidney to filter glucose increases, causing more glucose to be reabsorbed before glucose is eliminated in the urine. This is where ertugliflozin comes in.

Ertugliflozin

Ertugliflozin reduces blood glucose by blocking the action of the SGLT2 protein, preventing the kidney from reabsorbing glucose back into the bloodstream. The result is that the kidneys are able to eliminate more glucose through the urine, thus lowering blood glucose levels. So, what historically has been viewed as a sign of poorly controlled diabetes—glucose in the urine—is now the desired outcome of ertugliflozin and an actual indicator that the medication is working.

All diabetes medications have a generic and brand name. It is important for you to know both names of your medication. Ertugliflozin, available under the brand name Steglatro is the fourth SGLT2 inhibitor approved for use in the United States. The others are canagliflozin (Invokana), dapagliflozin (Farxiga), and empagliflozin (Jardiance).