The future of heart failure treatment could be transformed by the use of diabetes medication

According to University of East Anglia research the medication which was originally prescribed to diabetes patients is now being used to treat heart failure.

The first research to show that sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors could aid approximately half of heart failure patients – people suffering from a condition known as reduction ejection fraction.

New research published today suggests that the medication could be beneficial to all patients suffering from heart failure as well as those who have preserved ejection fraction.

This is the first drug to provide a real benefit for patients suffering from these ailments. And the research team say it will transform treatment options.

Professor Vassiliou is a leading researcher at UEA’s Norwich Medical School and Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital, stated that heart failure is a problem that affects about one million people in the UK.

There are two types of heart failure. Heart Failure that has a decrease in ejection fraction occurs when the heart is not able to pump blood round the body due to an issue with the mechanical. And heart failure that has preserved ejection fraction occurs when the heart is pumping out blood effectively, it is not sufficient to provide oxygen to all the parts of the body.”

Vass Vassiliou Study Lead Professor and Researcher Norwich Medical School and an Honorary Consultant Cardiologist at Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital

“Patients are equally split between the two types of heart failure.

“For many years, there was no medicine that could improve the outcomes of patients suffering from second-degree heart failure – those with preserved Ejection Fraction.

“This type heart failure confused doctors because all the tests did not show any benefits.

“Initially patients suffering from diabetes were prescribed SGLT2 inhibitors as a class of heart medication. However, it was noticed that it also helped patients with heart failure.

“Previous studies have proven that this medication is beneficial in heart failure with reduced Ejection fraction.

“But we have discovered that it may also help patients suffering from heart failure who have preserved Ejection Fraction.”

SGLT2 inhibitors are more commonly known under their trade-names Forxiga (Dapagliflozin), Invokana (Canagliflozin), and Jardiance (Empagliflozin).

The research team performed an analysis of all the published studies in the field, and collected data from over 10,000 patients. To show the exact effect of these medicines, they used statistical modeling.

Professor Vassiliou stated that patients who took SGLT2 inhibitors were 22% less likely to die from heart-related causes, or be admitted for heart failure exacerbation.

“This is extremely important as this is the first drug that could provide benefits to this previously untreatable category of patients in terms of heart-related deaths or hospitalization.

He said, “This is the first medication that really improves the outcomes for this patient group and it will revolutionize treatment for heart failure patients.”

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Gemma Wilson

Gemma is a journalism graduate with keen interest in covering business news – specifically startups. She has as a keen eye for technologies and has predicted quite a few successful startups over the last couple of years.

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