Newer drugs designed to treat type 2 diabetes may also have a beneficial side effect for cardiovascular health.
SGLT2 inhibitors can reduce the risk of heart failure by 34 percent compared to a more commonly used inhibitor, according to research published Thursday in The BMJ. Use of the drug was also linked to a 20 percent lower risk of death.
"Our study suggests that there is cardiovascular benefit from SGLT2 inhibitors for a broader patient group in routine clinical care," principal investigator Björn Pasternak, a researcher at Karolinska Institute and study principal investigator, said in a news release
For the study, the researchers examined data for nearly 21,000 type 2 diabetes patients who started therapy with three SGLT2 inhibitors from April 2013 to December 2016. They compared the numbers from those patients with a comparably sized group of type 2 diabetics who took DPP4 inhibitors to treat their disease.
They found use of the SGLT2 inhibitors was a reduced risk of heart failure and any cause of death, as well as with major cardiovascular events.
The researchers acknowledge their findings apply primarily to dapagliflozin, the type of SGLT2 inhibitor most widely available in Scandinavia during the study period.
Even so, the findings follow a study published in April that showed the SGLT2 inhibitor canagliflozin, marketed as Invokana, may also protect the kidneys and heart, and lower risk for death.
Still, the results are promising for the 5.7 million people in the United Stateswith heart failure.
"This is an important result that we believe may be of interest to patients as well as drug authorities and doctors," Pasternak said.