Image of Janani Rangaswami, M.D.

Newer classes of diabetes drugs reliably protect patients from heart and kidney damage associated with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, according to a scientific statement published Monday by the American Heart Association. Clinicians should consider prescribing the drugs in more cases to increase the likelihood of better outcomes, the group advises.

Current evidence shows that sodium glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitors and glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists significantly reduce the risk of adverse cardiovascular events and the progression of CKD to end-stage renal disease, the authors reported. The drugs’ success has “changed the landscape of therapeutic options” for diabetes and CKD patients, wrote nephrologist Janani Rangaswami, M.D., of Thomas Jefferson University, Philadelphia, and colleagues.

Increased use may help the medical community kickstart stalled progress in treating these patients, the group suggested.

“Despite the widespread use of standard-of-care therapies for CKD with T2D over the past few decades, rates of progression to end-stage kidney disease remain high with no beneficial impact on its accompanying burden of cardiovascular disease,” they stated.

The drugs are used type 2 diabetes to help control blood glucose and lower HbA1c levels. SGLT2 inhibitors include brand names Invokana and Farxiga, while GLP-1 receptor agonists include Tanzeum and Trulicity.

The AHA’s scientific statement summarizes current literature on the drugs and provides practical guidance for managing patient care. The authors promote a collaborative care model among cardiologists, nephrologists, endocrinologists, and primary care physicians to begin including these therapeutic drug classes into the management of more patients with type 2 diabetes and CKD.

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