Various kinds of antidiabetic medications work by different means and have varying effects on the body as a whole. As research into such effects progress, we learn more about how to tailor the best drug regimen for each person.
In June of 2017, the New England Journal of Medicine reported on a study of canagliflozin (Ivokana), a member of the gliflozin family, and what other effects it might have besides the already known ones.
The gliflozins work by helping the kidneys to…
- secrete sugar into the urine, and
- lowering blood sugar levels.
It also helps with weight loss, lowering blood pressure, and keeping the kidneys from excreting protein (albumin, the same protein that makes up egg whites) from the blood into the urine.Scientists at the University of New South Wales in Sydney, Australia, and several other research institutions in the United Kingdom and the United States, set out to learn more about the effects of the medication on the…
- heart and blood vessels,
and the rest of the body. They combined two previous studies and analyzed them as if they were one big study, including 10,142 Type 2 diabetes participants at high risk for heart and blood vessel disease. The participants were given either canagliflozin or a placebo and were examined for an average of about 188 weeks…
- the participants averaged about 63 years of age.
- over 65 percent had a history of heart and blood vessel disease.
The Type 2 diabetics taking canagliflozin were less likely to die from heart and blood vessel disease or suffer from a nonfatal heart attack or stroke than the diabetics given the placebos. Although it was not statistically significant, canagliflozin appeared to have a slightly positive effect on the kidneys as well. On the other hand, the participants taking canagliflozin had a greater risk of limb amputation.Perhaps at some time in the future, it will be possible to determine which Type 2 diabetics are at more risk of heart attack or stroke and which ones are in more danger of needing a limb amputation. Then canagliflozin or other drugs could be selected to do the best treatment with the least possibility of harm. In the meantime, Type 2 diabetics taking canagliflozin need to be careful with their feet, as all people with Type 2 diabetes need to. Canagliflozin is usually prescribed as a 100 mg dose given once a day before breakfast.
Other medications in the gliflozin family include…
- Invokamet (canagliflozin and metformin),
- Farxiga (dapagliflozin), and
- Xigduo (dapagliflozin and metformin extended release).