An oral drug used to treat type 2 diabetes has cardiovascular benefits in older people with the condition, according to an American study.
Researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School investigated how Invokana (canagliflozin), an SGLT2 inhibitor, impacted measurements of cardiovascular (CV) health.
They found that the drug reduced the rise of two cardiovascular indicators and could provide protection from cardiovascular disease (CVD) for older people with type 2 diabetes.
Invokana, marketed by Janssen Pharmaceuticals, helps to reduce blood glucose levels by getting the body to excrete blood glucose through urine.
In this new study of 666 people, the drug was shown to reduce the rise in serum N-terminal pro-B-type natriuretic peptide (NT-proBNP). This is a biomarker which is used for diagnosing acute decompensated heart failure.
An additional biomarker, high-sensitivity troponin I (hsTnI), which is used for the diagnosis of acute myocardial infarctio, was also lower following Invokana treatment, the researchers found.
The study participants were divided into two groups, one which received the drug and another that did not. All of the people studied had type 2 diabetes, with the treatment group having an average age of 63 and the placebo group with an average age of 64. They were assessed at three points during the study – 26, 52 and 104 weeks.
According to the findings, both Serum NT-proBNP and hsTnI increased in those not given the drug but not in the group which took canagliflozin.
The researchers led by Dr James L. Januzzi Jr concluded: “The effects on NT-proBNP and hsTnI seen with canagliflozin vs. placebo in this post hoc analysis are compatible with attenuation in [CV] risk in those treated with SGLT2 inhibitors.”
Commenting on the findings, Professor Nikolaus Marx, from Germany’s University Hospital Aache, said: “These data may certainly pave the way for future research with a focus on prevention of CVD and heart failure development in diabetes and, as such, stimulate further studies to explain more precisely the effects seen in EMPA-REG OUTCOME and Integrated CANVAS Program CV outcome trials.”
The study was published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

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