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Review article: Biomedical intelligence

Vol. 142 No. 3738 (2012)

Antidiabetic drugs and kidney disease

  • Anne Zanchi
  • Roger Lehmann
  • Jacques Philippe
Cite this as:
Swiss Med Wkly. 2012;142:w13629


Patients with diabetes are at risk of early renal function decline. Therefore, kidney function needs monitoring at least once per year. Once the glomerular filtration rate (GFR) is less than 60 ml/min, the pharmacokinetics of antidiabetic drugs may be altered. Sulfonylurea and glinide therapies are associated with a risk of hypoglycaemia which is increased in the presence of renal impairment. Most sulfonylureas must be discontinued once GFR is <60 ml/min. Some glinides may be continued beyond this threshold, in particular repaglinide, which may be used in dialysis patients. In the absence of comorbidities, metformin can be continued at lower doses until a GFR of 45 ml/min, but must be withdrawn in case of dehydration or during the administration of a nephrotoxic drug including dye for radiological investigations. Glitazones may worsen water and sodium retention in patients with renal impairment. The pharmacokinetics of all DPP-IV inhibitors except linagliptin are altered with impaired renal function. Only sitagliptin, saxagliptin and linagliptin may be used in advanced kidney disease, but experience is as yet very limited. GLP-1 agonists are contraindicated in moderate to advanced kidney disease.


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