Three-in-one drug

A drug for di­a­betes also de­creases the risk of heart and kid­ney dis­ease, a study finds.

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - Health -

AN anti-di­a­betic drug that low­ers blood sugar lev­els for type 2 di­a­betes suf­fer­ers also sig­nif­i­cantly cuts the risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar and kid­ney dis­ease, ac­cord­ing to a study pub­lished on Mon­day.

The find­ings, pub­lished in the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine, came in a clin­i­cal trial of more than 10,000 pa­tients in 30 coun­tries, us­ing canagliflozin.

It found that the drug re­duced the over­all risk of car­dio­vas­cu­lar dis­ease by 14% and re­duced the risk of heart fail­ure hos­pi­tal­i­sa­tion by 33%.

It was also shown to have a sig­nif­i­cant im­pact – 40% less – on the pro­gres­sion of a se­ri­ous kid­ney de­cline.

The Ge­orge In­sti­tute for Global Health study has ma­jor im­pli­ca­tions for the treat­ment of type 2 di­a­betes, which af­fects around 450 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide, the au­thors said.

“Coro­nary heart dis­ease is the big­gest killer by far for peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes.

“Our find­ings sug­gest that not only does canagliflozin sig­nif­i­cantly re­duce the risk of heart dis­ease, it also has many other ben­e­fits too,” said the group's Bruce Neal.

“We found it also re­duced blood pres­sure and led to weight loss.

“Type 2 di­a­betes is grow­ing rapidly all over the world and we need drugs that not only deal with glu­cose lev­els, but also pro­tect many mil­lions of peo­ple from the very real risks of stroke and heart at­tack.”

The study was also pre­sented at the Amer­i­can Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion Con­fer­ence in San Diego, which con­cluded on Tues­day.

The find­ings were cited as par­tic­u­larly rel­e­vant to Aus­tralia where around 65% of car­dio­vas­cu­lar deaths oc­cur in peo­ple with di­a­betes or pre-di­a­betes, and where di­a­betes is also the lead­ing cause of end-stage kid­ney dis­ease.

“Both pa­tients and physi­cians should be tremen­dously re­as­sured by the re­sults,” said coau­thor Vlado Perkovic, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of The Ge­orge In­sti­tute Aus­tralia.

“It not only re­duces the risk of heart dis­ease, it also pro­vides real pro­tec­tion against kid­ney de­cline, which af­fects many peo­ple with di­a­betes.”

How­ever, a sig­nif­i­cant down­side of us­ing the drug was that it dou­bled the risk of am­pu­ta­tion of a toe, foot or leg.

Di­a­betes can cause a nar­row­ing of blood ves­sels be­tween the knee and the toes, caus­ing a de­crease in oxy­gen cir­cu­la­tion that pre­vents heal­ing.

Canagliflozin works by block­ing the body's re­ab­sorp­tion of sugar or glu­cose.

This re­sults in more glu­cose be­ing re­leased in urine and a drop in glu­cose lev­els.

Most other di­a­betes drugs work by man­ag­ing in­sulin lev­els.

Neal added: “We don't know why there was an in­creased risk of am­pu­ta­tion, and fur­ther work is needed in this area.” – AFP Re­laxnews

The di­a­betes drug slows the pro­gres­sion of se­ri­ous kid­ney dis­ease, which re­quires the use of dial­y­sis as seen in this filepic, by about 40%.

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