This diabetes drug can prevent cardiovascular, kidney diseases: Study

Dulaglutide reduced heart attacks and strokes by 12%, decreased risks of kidney failure by a third

By Jyoti Singh
Published: Monday 22 July 2019

Dulaglutide, a drug commonly used in the treatment of Type-2 diabetes, can also be effective against cardiovascular and kidney diseases, researchers have found.

A clinical trial that followed more than 9,900 persons in 24 countries, for more than five years, found that the drug reduced cardiovascular events and kidney problems in middle-aged and older people.

The cardiovascular risks like heart attacks and strokes were reduced by 12 per cent in persons taking Dulaglutide injections compared to people taking a placebo.

It also reduced the possibility of development of kidney diseases by 15 per cent.

Among cardiovascular diseases, the greatest benefit was seen for heart failure, with a relative risk reduction of more than 30 per cent was observed. The risks of kidney failure and reduced kidney function was found to be decreased by a third.

"Normally, compared to others, people with diabetes have twice the rate of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes, and up to 40 per cent of people with diabetes develop kidney diseases," Hertzel C Gerstein, deputy director of McMaster University’s public health research institute, told India Science Wire.

Almost half of participants were women (46 per cent) and less than a third had previous cardiovascular disease.

"The trial shows that Dulaglutide can safely reduce the risks of cardiovascular diseases and kidney diseases while improving diabetes control and modestly lowering weight and blood pressure in middle-aged and old with Type-2 diabetes” added Gerstein, principal investigator for the study.

The results have been published in two papers in the journal The Lancet. 

Dulaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist. It is injected once per week in patients suffering from Type-2 diabetes to lower glucose level in the body. It works by helping pancreas release the right amount of insulin when blood sugar levels are high, slowing the emptying of the stomach after a meal and reducing appetite and weight.

“The drug showed good tolerance, modestly reduced weight, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and blood pressure and modestly increased heart rate. It is available in Indian market, though it is a little expensive,” said Prem Pais, researcher at St John’s Research Institute in Bengaluru, who was part of the study team. (India Science Wire)

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