Empagliflozi, an SGLT2 inhibitor, reduced the risk of death from heart disease is adults with type 2 diabetes in a recent study.
The research, conducted by researchers from the Yale School of Medicine, reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 38 per cent compared to a placebo. The risk of non-fatal heart-related incidents, such as heart attack or stroke, was not significantly reduced by Empagliflozin.
“[The results] were very surprising,” Silvio Inzucchi, Professor of Endocrinology and Director of the Yale Diabetes Centre, told Endocrine Today. “I did not predict it. In fact, I’m on record as saying I thought the results of the study would be neutral…I was shocked.”
The study involved 7,020 participants, all of whom were adults with type 2 diabetes. Each participant was placed in one of three groups. The first was given 10mg Empagliflozi, the second 25mg Empagliflozi, and the third given a placebo.
The trial ended when 691 participants had experienced a cardiovascular event, which took 3.1 years. The groups assigned Empagliflozin had a lower risk of cardiovascular death.
“[Empagliflozin] clearly reduces CV death without any doubt at all. It’s very clear, and starts to reduce these outcomes within three months,” said Hertzel C. Gerstei, an endocrinology Professor in the Department of Medicine at McMaster University, said following the presentation of the data.
The researchers are unsure why the risk of cardiovascular risk was reduced. They speculate that it was related to the properties of Empagliflozi, as well as the lower blood pressure, HbA1c levels and weight loss associated with the drug.
“But it has to be something else,” said Inzucchi. “A lot of it is speculation and it’s very challenging to come up with an answer…a possibility is maybe, by doing a little of this and a little of that, you do right by patients. Weight goes down a little, blood pressure goes down a little, glucose goes down a little, and [the drug doesn’t] result in hypoglycemia. So maybe the quadruple benefit of lower blood pressure, weight and glucose, without hypoglycemia, can somehow add up and lead to a benefit. We need help from the cardiology community and scientists to really hash through this data.”
The findings were presented at the 51st European Association for the Study of Diabetes Annual Meeting, as well as the New England Journal of Medicine.

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