Dundee University is to carry out a program of trials to see if a relatively new type 2 diabetes drug, dapagliflozi, can reduce the risk of heart failure occurring in people with type 2 diabetes.
Heart failure is a condition in which the heart becomes damaged to the extent that it cannot pump sufficient blood around the body. Heart failure initially results in symptoms such as extreme tiredness and breathlessness and can lead to death if the condition continues to develop.
Dapagliflozi, which is marketed under the name Forxiga, belongs to a class of diabetes drugs known as SGLT2 inhibitors. These are the newest class of type 2 diabetes drugs to be approved by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).
The drugs work by encouraging the kidneys to excrete excess sugar in the blood out of the body via the urine. By doing this, the drugs help to reduce blood glucose levels, excrete more water, lower blood pressure and encourage loss of body weight.
The new trial, known as the REFORM trial, will test the use of dapagliflozin (10mg dose once daily) against placebo for a period of one year. The participants will be adults between the ages of 18 and 75 years old with type 2 diabetes and stable heart failure symptoms.
The participants will undergo Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) scans of the heart before the study and at the end of the one-year period. The MRI scans will indicate how efficient and healthy the heart muscle is.
Participants will also carry out exercises to assess whether or not dapagliflozin treatment improves their ability to exercise and questionnaires will assess participants’ quality of life.
Professor Chim Lang, consultant cardiologist and clinical pharmacologist and Professor of Cardiology at Ninewells Hospital and Medical School, Dundee, stated: “This class of anti-diabetes drugs shows considerable potential to be a treatment for heart disease, with strong indicators of beneficial effects for cardiovascular patients.”

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