Tuesday 18 June 2019

Breakthrough diabetes drug protects against kidney disease

Research has shown that a once-a-day blood sugar lowering drug, canagliflozin, reduced cases of kidney failure and death by a third in diabetic patients. Photo: Stock Image
Research has shown that a once-a-day blood sugar lowering drug, canagliflozin, reduced cases of kidney failure and death by a third in diabetic patients. Photo: Stock Image

Alex Matthews-King

A breakthrough treatment could help protect hundreds of millions of people from the "21st century epidemic" of deadly diabetic kidney disease, a major trial has found.

Research from Australia and the UK has shown that a once-a-day blood sugar lowering drug, canagliflozin, reduced cases of kidney failure and death by a third in diabetic patients.

There are nearly five million UK diabetics and diabetic kidney disease costs the NHS as much as £927m (€1bn) a year, according to researchers. However there have been no new treatments for nearly two decades.

"There are more than 400 million people with diabetes worldwide, around 40pc of these people will get kidney disease," said the study's lead author Professor Vlado Perkovic, executive director of the George Institute for Global Health.

"Once they've got kidney disease, they're at very high risk of kidney failure, heart attack, stroke and of death."

Diabetic kidney disease is caused by years of poorly controlled blood sugar damaging the blood vessels in the kidneys, and undermining its ability to clean the blood of salts, protein and other waste products that can cause damage.

As well as increasing the risk of death from a range of cardiovascular conditions, people who develop kidney failure may require regular dialysis sessions to clean their blood.

To test the effects of canagliflozin, the authors recruited 4,401 patients with diabetes and kidney disease across 34 countries. They randomly assigned them to receive either canaglifozin, or a placebo, on top of their regular diabetes treatment.

The trial was stopped early because its high success rates meant leaving some participants on a placebo was unethical.

Its findings, published in the 'New England Journal of Medicine', show that over two and a half years kidney failure and deaths fell by 34pc compared to the placebo group. (© Independent News Service)

Irish Independent

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox every morning.

Editors Choice

Also in World News