Medical Research Charities > News > ‘Amazing’ Diabetes Drug Drives Down Fatal Heart Attacks and Strokes, Study Finds, LA Times

‘Amazing’ Diabetes Drug Drives Down Fatal Heart Attacks and Strokes, Study Finds, LA Times

Just as doctors were losing hope that they would find a drug capable of reducing heart risks for patients with diabetes, a new study identified one that may drive down the chances that such patients will die of a heart attack, stroke or heart failure.

Compared with clinical trial subjects who took a placebo, those who added Jardiance to their regimen of diabetes medications were 38% less likely to die as a result of a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular problem during the approximately three years that subjects were tracked.

In addition, those taking Jardiance were 35% less likely to be hospitalized for heart failure than those who took the placebo, and 32% less likely to die of any cause.

The clinical trial results, which were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, surprised doctors who had become accustomed to disappointing findings about diabetes treatments.

“It’s an amazing result; very unexpected and wonderful news,” said Dr. Christopher P. Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who was not involved in the study.

Four major trials of other drugs have shown that although they improved the metabolic function of diabetes patients, they failed to reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular deaths. In some cases, the medications were associated with a higher risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes.

The clinical trial results, which were published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine, surprised doctors who had become accustomed to disappointing findings about diabetes treatments.

“It’s an amazing result; very unexpected and wonderful news,” said Dr. Christopher P. Cannon, a cardiologist at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston who was not involved in the study.

Four major trials of other drugs have shown that although they improved the metabolic function of diabetes patients, they failed to reduce the number of heart attacks, strokes or cardiovascular deaths. In some cases, the medications were associated with a higher risk of fatal heart attacks and strokes.

Jardiance’s sponsors — Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Eli Lilly and Co. — conducted the new clinical trial on orders from the FDA. The findings suggest that among diabetes patients with established cardiovascular disease, 39 people would need to be treated with Jardiance to prevent one premature death.

Experts say it’s hard to draw clear comparisons with other drugs because the participants in this trial were at unusually high risk of early cardiovascular death. But the “number-to-treat” figure puts the drug’s effectiveness close to that of cholesterol-lowering statins and possibly ahead of blood pressure medications known as ACE inhibitors, said Dr. Silvio E. Inzucchi, a Yale Medical School endocrinologist who worked on the trial.

(Click here to read the full story, written by Melissa Healy, LA Times)