A new class of drugs called SGLT-2 inhibitors has demonstrated significant reduction of risks associated with death and hospitalization for heart failure in diabetes patients, compared to other therapies.
The company, however, notes that people with type-2 diabetes have a two to three times greater risk of heart failure and are more likely to have a heart attack or a stroke, and that some 50 percent of deaths in people with the disease are caused by cardiovascular disease.
AstraZeneca hopes the data could help support earlier use of SGLT-2s in treating type 2 diabetes and boost overall growth of the drug class, which is led by Johnson & Johnson's Invokana (canagliflozin) and also includes Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim's Jardiance (empagliflozin).
A real-world study dubbed CVD Real, which was sponsored by AstraZeneca, was conducted to examine the role played by SGLT2 in reducing heart-related deaths, as well as hospitalization.
Treatment with SGLT-2s cut the rate of hospitalization for heart failure by 39% and death from any cause by 51%, while reducing the rate of a composite endpoint of both outcomes by 46%, the study showed.
The Empa-Reg Outcome reflected that Jardiance reduced cardiovascular deaths by 38 percent.
More than 90 per cent of people studied were on either Forxiga, mainly prescribed in Europe, or Invokana, primarily taken in the US.
Researcher, Dr Mikhail Kosiborod, who is a cardiologist based ay Saint Luke's Mid America Heart Institute located in Kansas City said: "The fact that the results are remarkably consistent from country to country regardless of which compound predominates, that certainly seems to suggest that it's a class effect".
Patients treated with Farxiga, Invokana or Jardiance were compared to those taking other medications for type 2 diabetes, such as insulins or DPP-4s.
There is an increased demand for AstraZeneca's Farxiga drug, which resulted in a spike in sales by 70 percent in 2016.The product has been declared one of the best medicines for curing diabetes.
AstraZeneca is conducting its own large clinical trials to determine the heart effect of Farxiga with results expected in 2019.
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