In a new study, researchers found the new drug type for type 2 diabetes, SGLT2 inhibitors, are associated with a reduced risk of heart failure and death.
The drug is also linked to reduced major cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes.
The research was led by a team Karolinska Institutet and other institutes.
Heart disease is a serious complication of type 2 diabetes.
The new SGLT2 inhibitors, which are now a commonly used drug group, reduce blood glucose.
Previous studies have also shown that SGLT2 inhibitors can reduce the risk of heart disease events in patients with type 2 diabetes and heart disease or high heart disease risk.
However, it is unclear whether these findings also mean that there are positive heart effects from SGLT2 inhibitors in a broader patient group.
In the new study, the team examined over 40,000 patients. They used several national registries containing data on drug use, diseases, cause of death and other data from close to 21,000 patients with type 2 diabetes.
These patients began treatment with SGLT2 inhibitors between April 2013 and December 2016.
This information was then compared with an equally sized matched population who began treatment with a different diabetes drug, a DPP4 inhibitor.
The team found that the use of SGLT2 inhibitors was linked to a reduced risk of heart failure but not with major heart events.
The risk of heart failure was 34% lower in the SGLT2-inhibitor group than in the DPP4-inhibitor group. The use of SGLT2 inhibitors was also linked to a 20% lower risk of death.
In another analysis, the researchers studied the risks only when the patients took the drug and found a reduced risk of both heart failure and major heart disease events.
The team says there is cardiovascular benefit from SGLT2 inhibitors for a broader patient group in routine clinical care.
The results are applicable primarily to dapaglifozin, which was the predominant SGLT2 inhibitor used in Scandinavia during the study period.
The lead author of the study is Björn Pasternak, associate professor at Karolinska Institutet’s Department of Medicine in Solna.
The study is published in the BMJ.
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