Health Care

J&J's Diabetes Drug Cuts Heart Risk but Amputations Are Hazard

J&J's Diabetes Drug Cuts Heart Risk but Amputations Are Hazard

Professor John Petrie, from the University of Glasgow's Institute of Cardiovascular and Medical Sciences, said: "The results from this trial are significant because now cardiovascular disease is a major cause of reduced life expectancy in type 1 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease rates are more than double those of the background population".

"I think we're going to see much greater use of canagliflozin and the class in type 2 diabetes", Neal said.

Canagliflozin is usually taken once daily before breakfast and is commonly used to help manage Type 2 diabetes. The new Invokana data, therefore, helps reaffirm the ability of the SGLT-2 class to treat diabetes and keep adverse heart conditions at bay, but doesn't necessarily give Johnson & Johnson's drug a leg up on rival pharmas.

It reduced the risk of such diseases by 14 percent and also reduced the risk of heart failure hospitalisation by 33 percent. Canagliflozin has also led to weight loss and reduced blood pressure.

Two new studies have demonstrated a cardiovascular benefit in patients treated with canagliflozin (Invokana-Johnson & Johnson) for type 2 diabetes.

The study was presented at the American Diabetes Association Conference in San Diego.

The study is particularly important to Australians because approximately 65 percent of all cardiovascular deaths occur in people with diabetes or pre-diabetes, and diabetes is also the leading cause of end-stage kidney disease.

Executive Director of The George Institute Australia, co-author Prof. "It not only reduces the risk of heart disease, it also provides real protection against kidney decline, which affects many people with diabetes".

Canagliflozin, also known by the name, SGLT2 inhibitor, is a comparatively a novel variety of drug that functions by inhibiting the body's reabsorption of sugar or glucose. That is in line with the labelling for the drug in the U.S. - where Invokana has a black-box warning about amputation - and suggests that "care is warranted in the use of canagliflozin in patients at risk for amputation", according to the trial investigators.

Researchers monitored over 10,000 participants with type 2 diabetes and high cardiovascular risk for over three years, giving some one Canagliflozin tablet per day and others a placebo drug.

Diabetics are already at increased risk for amputations and fractures, and it's unclear why Invokana seems to exacerbate the situation, said lead investigator Bruce Neal, a professor at the University of New South Wales in Sydney. This results in more glucose being released in urine and a drop in glucose levels.

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