These drugs could effectively treat diabetes, protect heart health

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Less than a decade ago, the Food and Drug Administration approved drugs for treating type 2 diabetes in an entirely new way.

Since that time, evidence in favor of the use of sodium/glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors has been mounting.

Many studies showed better blood glucose control, heart benefits, weight loss and more for patients with diabetes taking SGLT2 inhibitors.

In a new study, researchers found new evidence about the benefits for patients with diabetes and chronic kidney disease as well as those with diabetes and recent worsening heart failure.

The research was conducted by a team at Brigham and Women’s Hospital

In the study, the team examined sotagliflozin, a drug that inhibits SGLT2 and SGLT1.

SGLT2 inhibition helps the body eliminate blood sugar via urine, while SGLT1 inhibition leads to blood sugar reduction via the digestive tract.

The team tested whether sotagliflozin could prevent heart disease in patients with diabetes with chronic kidney disease.

They examined 10,584 patients who were followed for an average of 16 months.

They found drug sotagliflozin strongly reduced the occurrences of cardiovascular deaths, hospitalizations for heart failure, or urgent visits for heart failure by about 26%.

As well, sotagliflozin reduced the rate of cardiovascular death, heart attack, or stroke, with an early benefit.

There was also a reduction in the total number of fatal or non-fatal heart attacks and the total number of fatal or non-fatal strokes by 32% and 34%, respectively.

The team also tested 1,222 patients with type 2 diabetes and recent worsening heart failure requiring hospitalization.

Patients were randomized to sotagliflozin or placebo and followed for an average of nine months.

The researchers found that patients who took part in the trial showed a 33% reduction in the total occurrences of cardiovascular deaths, hospitalizations for heart failure, and urgent visits for heart failure. Taking the drug prior to hospital discharge was safe and effective.

These findings show the safety and efficacy of SGLT2 inhibitors when initiated in patients hospitalized with acute heart failure.

One author of the study is Brigham cardiologist Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH.

The study is published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

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