CANAGLIFLOZIN, a drug currently prescribed for lowering blood sugar in patients with Type 2 diabetes, has also been found to lower the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The research was carried out by scientists at The George Institute for Global Health, Sydney, Australia that suggested the drug has more than one therapeutic effect.
Prof Bruce Neal, The George Institute for Global Health explained: “Type 2 diabetes is growing rapidly all over the world, and we need drugs that not only deal with glucose levels, but that also protect the many millions of people from the very real risks of stroke and heart attack.” The effect of canagliflozin on CVD as well as blood glucose regulation presents a real possibility to improve diabetes treatment.
The study reviewed clinical data on >10,000 patients across 30 countries and confirmed results from previous research that had suggested glucose lowering medication can lead to a significantly reduced risk of CVD in diabetes patients.
Canagliflozin is a SGLT2 inhibitor, which prevents the body from reabsorbing sugar by inhibiting the sodium-glucose transport protein. This protein usually facilitates the reabsorption of glucose into the blood; however, canagliflozin causes the kidneys to expel excess glucose from the body through urine. Other Type 2 diabetes medications only regulate insulin levels.
Data from the study showed patients with Type 2 diabetes taking canagliflozin had a 33% reduction in the risk of being hospitalised for heart failure, were 14% less likely to develop CVD, and were 40% less likely to have serious kidney decline. Co-author, Prof Vlado Perkovic, The George Institute for Global Health, commented: “This really is a game changer in the treatment of Type 2 diabetes
Despite the promising results, this study also revealed a serious risk, with patients taking canagliflozin being 50% more likely to have an amputation. Therefore, Prof Neal urged that caution is essential when prescribing canagliflozin to people with an increased risk of amputation, saying: “We do not know why there was an increased risk of amputation, and further work is needed in this area.”