This diabetes drug can help reduce heart failure

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In a new study, researchers found canagliflozin, a medication used to treat type 2 diabetes, could greatly improve symptoms and quality of life within 3 months for people with heart failure, even if they didn’t also have type 2 diabetes.

More than 6 million Americans are estimated to have heart failure, which occurs when the heart isn’t able to meet the body’s need for blood and oxygen.

Symptoms of heart failure include shortness of breath, tiredness and swelling in the feet and legs.

A class of medications initially developed to treat Type 2 diabetes, called sodium-glucose co-transporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors, have recently been found to help improve survival and decrease hospitalization rates among adults with heart failure.

In the study, the team tested 476 participants (average age of 63, almost 45% female) from 18 health systems across the U.S.

285 people had heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (when the lower-left portion of the heart does not properly fill with blood), and the rest had heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (when the lower-left portion of the heart does not properly pump blood).

A total of 222 participants received canagliflozin, and 226 participants received a placebo.

The study found participants who received canagliflozin had much greater improvements in their heart failure symptoms, beginning within two weeks that were sustained throughout the entire three months of the trial.

Participants with both reduced and preserved ejection fractions experienced these improvements, regardless of whether they had type 2 diabetes or not.

The team says the impact of this class of medicines on patients’ function and quality of life is larger than many other medications used to treat heart failure, and they are very safe.

Since improvement in health status is such a key goal for many patients, these findings support increasing the use of SGLT2 inhibitors for people with heart failure.

If you care about heart failure, please read studies about women have higher risk for heart failure and heart attack death than men and findings of these common foods could make heart failure more dangerous.

For more information about heart failure, please see recent studies about this heart failure drug may treat COVID-19 long-hauler symptom and results showing that drinking more coffee linked to lower heart failure risk.

The study was at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021. One author of the study is John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H.

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