Bittersweet: infective complications of drug-induced glycosuria in patients with diabetes mellitus on SGLT2-inhibitors: two case reports

BMC Infect Dis. 2021 Mar 20;21(1):284. doi: 10.1186/s12879-021-05982-3.


BACKGROUND: Sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are novel hypoglycemic agents which reduce reabsorption of glucose at the renal proximal tubule, resulting in significant glycosuria and increased risk of genital mycotic infections (GMI). These infections are typically not severe as reported in large systematic reviews and meta-analyses of the medications. These reviews have also demonstrated significant cardiovascular benefits through other mechanisms of action, making them attractive options for the management of Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM). We present two cases with underlying abnormalities of the urogenital tract in which the GMI were complicated and necessitated cessation of the SGLT2 inhibitor.

CASE PRESENTATIONS: Both cases are patients with T2DM on empagliflozin, an SGLT2 inhibitor. The first case is a 64 year old man with Candida albicans balanitis and candidemia who was found to have an obstructing renal calculus and prostatic abscess requiring operative management. The second case describes a 72 year old man with Candida glabrata candidemia who was found to have prostatomegaly, balanitis xerotica obliterans with significant urethral stricture and bladder diverticulae. His treatment was more complex due to fluconazole resistance and concerns about urinary tract penetration of other antifungals. Both patients recovered following prolonged courses of antifungal therapy and in both cases the SGLT2 inhibitor was ceased.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite their cardiovascular benefits, SGLT2 inhibitors can be associated with complicated fungal infections including candidemia and patients with anatomical abnormalities of the urogenital tract may be more susceptible to these infections as demonstrated in these cases. Clinicians should be aware of their mechanism of action and associated risk of infection and prior to prescription, assessment of urogenital anatomical abnormalities should be performed to identify patients who may be at risk of complicated infection.

PMID:33743624 | PMC:PMC7980614 | DOI:10.1186/s12879-021-05982-3