A recent study has shown that a drug which is used to control the levels of blood sugar in those patients with diabetes can help slow or prevent kidney issue, which results in millions of deaths every year and requires thousands of patients to rely on dialysis to survive.
Researchers say that it is difficult to overstate the significance of this new study, and its meaning for dealing with this health issue, which is quickly growing due to the obesity epidemic. The condition could damage kidneys gradually, leading to disease and failure. It requires approximately 1 million people in the US to use dialysis, as well as thousands of transplants for kidney every year.
Several blood pressure medications can reduce this risk. However, they are only effective partially. The recent study examined Invokana, which is a daily drug to keep blood sugar in check, to see whether it also would be helpful in preventing kidney issue when combined with standard treatments.
In this study, around 13,000 patients with chronic kidney issue and diabetes type 2 all over the world were given dummy pills or Invokana. Independent monitors had ceased the study earlier than planned when the medication was clearly helping after 4,400 patients were treated for around 3 years on average.
Those people on the medication had a 30% lower risk of these issues: dead because of kidney diseases, need for kidney transplants, need for dialysis, kidney failure, and other signs of kidney failure.
For every 1,000 patients taking the medication for 3 years, there were 48 fewer cases of these issues, researchers estimate.
The rates of severe side effects were also similar in the placebo and medication groups including toe, foot or leg amputations, an issue found by previous studies about Invokana. When the bodies cannot produce sufficient amounts of insulin, a possible side effect was more regular among people on this drug but rare in general.
Janssen, owned by Johnson & Johnson, was the sponsor of this study. Many authors are consulting or working for the firm. The medication costs around $500 per month in the United States. Out-of-pocket expenses for patients can vary, depending on each insurance policy.
The significance of this well-done and large study “can’t be overstated,” Clifford Rosen and Drs. Julie Ingelfinger, editors at the New England Journal of Medicine, wrote in an article.
Over the last years, some studies have shown that Invokana and similar medications could reduce heart risks. This new finding proves that Invokana could also prevent or stall kidney failure.