Study finds di­a­betes drug may pre­vent, slow kid­ney dis­ease

Sun.Star Pampanga - - SCIENCE! - Drug that’s used to help con­trol blood sugar peo­ple with di­a­betes has now been shown to help pre­vent or slow kid­ney dis­ease, which causes mil­lions of deaths each year and re­quires hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple to use dial­y­sis to stay alive.

Doc­tors say it’s hard to over­state the im­por­tance of this study, and what it means for curb­ing this prob­lem, which is grow­ing be­cause of the obe­sity epi­demic.

The study tested Janssen Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals’ drug In­vokana. Re­sults were dis­cussed Sun­day at a med­i­cal meet­ing in Aus­tralia and pub­lished by the New Eng­land Jour­nal of Medicine.

About 30 mil­lion Amer­i­cans and more than 420 mil­lion peo­ple world­wide have di­a­betes , and most cases are Type 2, the kind tied to obe­sity. It oc­curs when the body can’t make enough or prop­erly use in­sulin, which turns food into en­ergy.

This can dam­age the kidneys over time, caus­ing dis­ease and ul­ti­mately, fail­ure. In the U.S., it’s re­spon­si­ble for nearly half a mil­lion peo­ple need­ing dial­y­sis, and for thou­sands of kid­ney trans­plants each year.

Some blood pres­sure drugs lower this risk but they’re only par­tially ef­fec­tive. The new study tested In­vokana, a daily pill sold now to help con­trol blood sugar, to see if it also could help pre­vent kid­ney dis­ease when added to stan­dard treat­ments.

For the study, about 13,000 peo­ple with Type 2 di­a­betes and chronic kid­ney dis­ease from around the world were to be given In­vokana or dummy pills. In­de­pen­dent mon­i­tors stopped the study early, af­ter 4,400 peo­ple had been treated for about 2.5 years on av­er­age, when it was clear the drug was help­ing.

Those on the drug had a 30% lower risk of one of these prob­lems — kid­ney fail­ure, need for dial­y­sis, need for a kid­ney trans­plant, death from kid­neyor heart-re­lated causes, or other signs that kidneys were fail­ing.

For every 1,000 peo­ple tak­ing the drug for 2.5 years, there would be 47 fewer cases of one of these prob­lems, re­searchers es­ti­mate.

Rates of se­ri­ous side ef­fects were sim­i­lar in the drug and placebo groups in­clud­ing leg, foot or toe am­pu­ta­tions, a con­cern raised by a pre­vi­ous study of In­vokana. One side ef­fect, when the body can’t pro­duce enough in­sulin, was more fre­quent among those on In­vokana but rare over­all.

Janssen, which is part of John­son & John­son, sponsored the study and many au­thors work or con­sult for the com­pany. The drug costs about $500 a month in the U.S. Out-of­pocket costs for pa­tients may be dif­fer­ent, de­pend­ing on in­sur­ance.

The im­por­tance of this large and well-done study “can­not be over­stated,” Drs. Julie In­gelfin­ger and Clif­ford Rosen, edi­tors at the med­i­cal jour­nal, wrote in an ac­com­pa­ny­ing ar­ti­cle.

In re­cent years, sev­eral stud­ies have found that In­vokana and some sim­i­lar drugs can lower heart risks. The new re­sults, show­ing that In­vokana also may stall or pre­vent kid­ney fail­ure, ex­pand the po­ten­tial ben­e­fits of the drug.

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