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  1. March, Katherine L. PharmD, BCPS
  2. Lukas, Jack G. PharmD
  3. Berei, Theodore J. PharmD, MBA, BCPS, BCCP
  4. Shah, Samarth P. PharmD, BCPS
  5. Cave, Brandon E. PharmD, BCCP, ASH-CHC, AACC


Sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT-2) inhibitors (empagliflozin, canagliflozin, dapagliflozin, and ertugliflozin) are a new class of heart failure medications that have previously been exclusively utilized in the management of type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). The rationale for using SGLT-2 inhibitors in patients with heart failure has stemmed from recent landmark clinical trials in T2DM in which reductions in mortality and hospitalization for heart failure were first observed. On the basis of these robust outcomes, empagliflozin has further been evaluated in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) and preserved ejection fraction and dapagliflozin solely in the management of HFrEF. While cardiovascular outcomes among each agent vary depending on the patient population, updates among both the American and European guidelines have included SGLT-2 inhibitors as pillars of therapy. The exact mechanisms for how SGLT-2 inhibitors are beneficial in heart failure are unknown, but current hypotheses include multiple metabolic and hemodynamic mechanisms. The purpose of this review is to summarize available literature focusing on the use of the SGLT-2 inhibitors as adjunctive therapy in heart failure, as well as evaluate mechanisms for heart failure benefit, adverse effects, and practical considerations for using these agents in the clinical setting.