Predictors, disparities, and facility-level variation: SGLT2 inhibitor prescription among US veterans with CKD

Document Type



Office of the Provost; Cardiology


Rationale & objective: Sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors are recommended for type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) in patients with chronic kidney disease (CKD) or atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD). We evaluated factors associated with SGLT2 inhibitor prescription, disparities by race and sex, and facility-level variation in prescription patterns.
Study design: Retrospective cohort.
Setting & participants: A national sample of US veterans with comorbid T2DM, CKD, and ASCVD with a primary care visit between January 1 and December 31, 2020.
Exposure: Race, sex, and individual Veterans Affairs (VA) location.
Outcome: SGLT2 inhibitor prescription.
Analytical approach: Multivariable logistic regression assessed associations of race and sex with SGLT2 inhibitor prescription. Facility-level variation in SGLT2i prescription was quantified by median rate ratios (MRR), which express the likelihood that 2 randomly selected facilities differ in their use of SGLT2 inhibitor among similar patients.
Results: Of 174,443 patients with CKD, T2DM, and ASCVD, 20,024 (11.5%) were prescribed an SGLT2 inhibitor. Lower odds of SGLT2 inhibitor prescription were seen in Black or African American patients compared with White patients (OR, 0.87 [95% CI, 0.83-0.91]) and among women compared with men (OR, 0.59 [95% CI 0.52-0.67]). The adjusted MRR for SGLT2 inhibitor prescription was 1.58 (95% CI 1.48-1.67) in the total cohort, indicating an unexplained 58% variation in treatment between VA facilities, independent of patient and facility characteristics. Facility-level variation was evaluated among Black or African American patients (MRR, 1.55 [95% CI 1.41-1.68]), White patients (MRR, 1.57 [95% CI 1.47-1.66]), women (MRR, 1.40 [95% CI 1.28-1.51]), and men (MRR, 1.57 [95% CI 1.48-1.67]).
Limitations: Albuminuria was not assessed.
Conclusions: Prescription for SGLT2 inhibitors was low among likely eligible patients, with evident disparities by sex and race and between individual VA facilities. Efforts are needed to study and address the reasons for these disparities to improve equitable adoption of these important medications.

Publication (Name of Journal)

American Journal of Kidney Diseases