Tuesday, 30 April 2019

Diabetes Drug May Prevent or Slow Kidney Disease

Recent research reports that a drug normally used to control blood sugar levels in diabetics helps to prevent or slow down kidney disease.

The new study tested Invokana, a daily pill sold now to help control blood sugar, to see if it also could help prevent kidney disease when added to standard treatments.

For the study, about 13,000 people with Type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease from around the world were to be given Invokana or dummy pills. Independent monitors stopped the study early, after 4,400 people had been treated for about 2.5 years on average, when it was clear the drug was helping.

Those on the drug had a 30% lower risk of one of these problems — kidney failure, need for dialysis, need for a kidney transplant, death from kidney- or heart-related causes, or other signs that kidneys were failing.

For every 1,000 people taking the drug for 2.5 years, there would be 47 fewer cases of one of these problems, researchers estimate.

This seems a pretty important result and could help a large number of people.

You can read the story here, from April 2019. And the report from the manufacturers is also available.

However, we came across other reports that paint a worrying problem.

The Food and Drug Administration issued safety warnings about Invokana, which may increase the risk of severe urinary tract infection and diabetic ketoacidosis leading to kidney failure. There's a report on that here

Patients can also have problems with increased risk of bone fractures which could lead to foot or leg amputations in a small number of cases.

These are not reported as regular events from taking the drug, they affect a small number of patients, so while a bit disturbing, it doesn't mean those taking the drug should stop - drug companies have to mention almost every report of a problem encountered.