Washington | A new type 2 diabetes drug may significantly reduce hospitalisations and death from heart failure, a new study has claimed. Many individuals with type 2 diabetes also have heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to pump blood effectively.
Treatment for heart failure is limited and prior efforts to treat patients with type 2 diabetes drugs showed no benefit for heart failure. But a new class of type 2 diabetes drugs (SGLT2 inhibitors) that reduce blood sugar by increasing its excretion in the urine had not been studied.
In a large clinical trial known as EMPA-REG Outcome, patients with type 2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease were randomised to receive once-daily doses of either the glucose-lowering drug empagliflozin (10mg or 25mg doses), or a placebo.
The drug or placebo was given in addition to standard care. At the end of the trial period, researchers, including Silvio E Inzucchi, professor at the Yale University in US, found that patients treated with the drug experienced reductions in blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as weight loss, compared to those on placebo.
They also found significant reductions in hospitalisations for heart failure (35 per cent); the combined result for heart failure hospitalisation or dying from heart disease (34 per cent); and the combined result for being hospitalised or dying from heart failure (39 per cent).
Additionally, Inzucchi and colleagues analysed outcomes for subgroups of patients who had heart failure at the beginning of the trial and those who did not. We found that reductions in the hospitalisation outcomes were similar between the two subgroups, he said.
So, one conclusion that could be proposed is that the drug not only appeared to prevent deterioration in patients who already had heart failure but also appeared to prevent that condition from developing in patients who never had it before, he said.