UMMC’s diabetes drug considered potential solution to heart failure, study shows

Focused On Health

JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – For years, clinical trials have tried and failed to discover an effective treatment for a common kind of heart failure.

That is, until a global study co-led by a University of Mississippi Medical Center (UMMC) physician found convincing evidence for a new approach to treat heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, or HFpEF.

The paper, published in the New England Journal of Medicine August 27, showed that the diabetes drug empagliflozin reduced the risk of cardiovascular death or heart failure hospitalization by 21 percent.

For a condition that affects millions of Americans with no known therapy, that’s a substantial result, said Dr. Javed Butler, chair of the Department of Medicine at UMMC and co-author of the study.

“Until this trial, we had no effective therapies for patients with this form of heart failure. This is the only major cardiac disease where this was the case,” said Butler, Patrick H. Lehan Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine.

The study found that empagliflozin reduced the risk of hospitalization or death from heart failure by 21 percent compared to placebo, driven by a 29 percent decline in hospitalization. The treatment group had a nine percent lower risk of death during the study period, although the result was not statistically significant on its own.

Butler and colleagues published other results from this trial August 29 in Circulation. They showed that the empagliflozin-treated patients had less severe heart failure symptoms at 12 weeks and two years after the start of treatment.

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