This diabetes drug could benefit people with heart failure

Credit: CC0 Public Domain

In a recent study presented at the American College of Cardiology’s Annual Scientific Session, researchers found that people with both diabetes and heart failure who were treated with sotagliflozin, a novel drug for diabetes, experienced reductions of 22% to 43% in the risk of death or worsening heart failure.

The drug was effective in patients with all forms of heart failure, including those whose heart muscle is abnormally stiff (preserved ejection fraction) and for whom there is currently no effective treatment.

The team says the drug can strongly reduce heart failure, including heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), for which no effective treatment is currently available.

The study was from Brigham and Women’s Hospital. One author is Deepak L. Bhatt, MD, MPH.

Ejection fraction is a measure of how much blood the heart pumps out each time it contracts. With a normal ejection fraction, 50% to 70% of the blood in the heart is pumped out with each heartbeat.

In heart failure with reduced ejection fraction—a better known, more treatable form of the disease—weakness of the heart muscle means that only 40% or less of the blood in the heart is pumped out with each heartbeat.

By contrast, an HFpEF patient’s ejection fraction is normal or near-normal, but the heart must work harder to adequately fill with the blood given abnormal stiffness of the heart muscle.

HFpEF occurs in both men and women but is a particularly common problem among older women.

Sotagliflozin belongs to a class of drugs known as SGLT1/2 inhibitors and is the first drug in this class shown to help control blood sugar levels in two ways: by modulating the rise in blood sugar levels after meals and by helping the body to eliminate more sugar in the urine.

Recent studies have shown that sotagliflozin also reduces heart attacks and strokes.

For this analysis, the team combined patient data from two large studies. In one study, 10,584 patients were randomly assigned to treatment with either sotagliflozin or a placebo.

After a follow-up period of 16 months, treatment with sotagliflozin reduced heart disease by 26% compared with placebo.

In the other study, 1,222 patients were assigned to treatment with either sotagliflozin or a placebo.

After nine months of follow-up, treatment with sotagliflozin reduced cardiovascular deaths and hospitalizations or urgent visits for heart failure by 33% compared with placebo.

The team says sotagliflozin offers a meaningful, incremental advance in improving outcomes for heart failure patients.

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For more information about diabetes and your health, please see recent studies about low carb diets and managing diabetes: What you should know and results showing that pay attention to these 5 common diabetes food myths.

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