Saturday , January 16 2021

The diabetes drug offers important protection against heart failure: Study, Singapore News & Top Stories

A diabetes drug sold here could lead to a better quality of life for 450,000 diabetics in Singapore, after it was found to significantly protect against heart failure.

A large clinical study of AstraZeneca's Forxiga, one of the three SGLT2 inhibitors (sodium glucose transporter), found that it reduced hospitalization due to heart failure among diabetics by 17 percent.

The results of the study of more than 17,000 diabetics in 33 countries over 4.2 years were published last Saturday, the first day of the three-day scientific meeting of the American Heart Association in Chicago.

Asians with diabetes are at a much higher risk of having heart failure than Caucasians, and the disease often becomes hospitalized several times.

Dr Peter Yan, a cardiologist in private practice, told The Straits Times that Asian people with diabetes have a triple risk of heart failure compared to Caucasians. Six out of 10 of their patients have some type of diabetes.

The study found that Forxiga, also known as Dapagliflozin, was able to help both diabetics who already suffer from heart failure and those who do not.

Asians with diabetes are at a much higher risk of having heart failure than Caucasians, and the disease often becomes hospitalized several times.

For those with heart failure, reduced hospitalization by 21 percent.

In general, about 70% of diabetics get heart failure within five years of being diagnosed with diabetes, although some do not show any symptoms.

For diabetics without heart failure, Forxiga reduced 16 percent of the incidence of hospitalization.

Forxiga, an oral medication used to control blood sugar levels, is subsidized in the Healthcare Assistance Fund of the Ministry of Health.

Patients can also use Medisave under the outpatient chronic disease management program to pay for the medication.

A Dapagliflozin tablet costs $ 1.36 before the grant, with the subsidy moving half to three-quarters of the cost.

Dr. Stanley Liew, an endocrinologist at the Raffles Hospital, said the trial showed that the drug "caused lower hospitalization rates due to heart failure. Therefore, we should consider using this drug in those without heart failure to prevent the disease."

He said that the drug "helps to address an important medical need among a diverse group of patients with type 2 diabetes by reducing hospitalization or cardiovascular death, with a security profile that is widely used."

Professor Tan Huay Cheem, director of the National University Center of the University of Singapore, welcomed the results.

He noted that since heart failure is more common among diabetics than heart attack, anything that can prevent the condition is good.

He said diabetics are 1.5 times more likely to die from heart failure than a non-diabetic.

Prof Tan added that compared to people without diabetes, diabetic men are 2.4 times more likely to suffer from heart failure while diabetic women face five times the risk.

Dr. Yan said both endocrinologists and cardiologists at the meeting agreed that Forxiga's drug can help most diabetics.

He said: "The class of SGLT2 inhibitors is very powerful to reduce heart failure hospitalization and seems to be independent of glucose control."

The drug also could reduce renal disease by 24%. But he was not able to show a better prevention of cardiovascular death, stroke or heart attacks in diabetics.

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