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Diabetes drug effective in heart failure treatment, study shows

Diabetes drug dapagliflozin is also an effective treatment for heart failure, according to the results of a large international trial. 

The study of 4,744 patients with heart failure – half of whom did not have diabetes – found a 30% reduction in the risk worsening disease and 18% reduction in cardiovascular death after 18 months of follow up.

Death by any cause was reduced by 17% in patients taking a daily dose of 10mg dapagliflozin compared with placebo, researchers from the DAPA-HF study reported.

Those taking part in the randomised controlled trial which ran across 20 countries were also receiving standard care which included angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor, angiotensin receptor blocker or angiotensin receptor-neprilysin inhibitor (94%), beta-blocker (96%), and mineralocorticoid receptor antagonists (71%).

Presenting the findings at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris, Professor John McMurray, professor of cardiology at the University of Glasgow, also highlighted that patients taking the SGLT2 inhibitor had a significant 15% improvement in health-related quality of life.

Patients taking dapagliflozin were also 16% less likely to show deterioration in health-related quality of life, he said.

He said while previous studies had shown that that SGLT2 inhibitors in diabetes reduced the risk of developing heart failure, they wanted to find out if the drugs were of any use in those with established disease and the results were ‘fantastic news’ for patients.

‘The results from DAPA-HF are remarkable. And probably the most important finding of all is that dapagliflozin was associated with benefit in patients without diabetes.

‘With dapagliflozin, we did the three things you want to do for the patient in the ideal world: make them feel better, keep them out of hospital and keep them alive.’

It follows the news that pharmacists may be able to dispense high-dose statins over the counter without a GP prescription under new Government plans to cut heart disease and strokes

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