Novel diabetes drug may help people with heart failure, kidney disease

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Published: February, 2021

A unique diabetes drug shows heart-related benefits in people with diabetes who also have recently worsening heart failure or kidney disease, according to two new studies.

The drug, sotagliflozin (Zynquista), belongs to a class of drugs called SGLT2 inhibitors, which cause the kidneys to release more sugar into the urine. The drug is also an SGLT1 inhibitor, meaning it decreases sugar absorption in the intestines. This dual action lowers high blood sugar, the hallmark of diabetes. In people with kidney disease, sotagliflozin lowered the total number of deaths from cardiovascular disease and hospitalizations and urgent visits for heart failure by about 26% compared with a placebo. In a second study, which included people with recently worsening heart failure, those taking the drug had a 33% decrease in those same heart-related measures compared with a placebo.

Sotagliflozin is not yet approved for use in this country. Both studies were published online Nov. 16, 2020, by The New England Journal of Medicine. (Editor's note: Harvard Heart Letter editor in chief Dr. Deepak L. Bhatt was the principal investigator for both studies.)

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