More than 2,000 type-2 diabetes deaths could be cut

Analysis reveals that up to 2,095 Australian lives could be saved every year if patients with type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease were uniformly treated with a diabetes medicine.

Released by the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute, Melbourne, the ‘Dark Heart of Type-2 Diabetes’ report is the first analysis to model effects reported with empagliflozin in the EMPA-REG OUTCOME clinical trial on death rates in Australia.

The Baker Institute analysis concludes that: “The introduction of empagliflozin among people with type-2 diabetes and a history of cardiovascular disease would prevent more than 2,000 deaths in one year if uptake is widespread and the effect on mortality is like that shown in trials”.

Report co-author and Head of Clinical and Population Health at the Baker Institute Professor Jonathan Shaw says the analysis shows the potential for a significant reduction in mortality if this high-risk patient population were prescribed the SGLT2 inhibitor.

“An estimated 7,000 deaths occur annually in people with type-2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease,” he said. “Empagliflozin has the potential to delay roughly one-third of these deaths if widely prescribed and adhered to.

“This mortality analysis provides a very tangible and compelling reason to prescribe empagliflozin for type-2-diabetes patients with established cardiovascular disease.”

The ‘Dark Heart of Type-2 Diabetes’ report, supported by an unrestricted educational grant from Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly, reveals that cardiovascular disease remains the leading cause of death in Australians with type-2 diabetes, shortening life expectancy by up to a decade.

“Death from CVD occurs more commonly and at a younger age in people with diabetes than among the non-diabetic population, regardless of whether their blood-glucose levels are elevated or under control,” Professor Shaw said. “Controlling blood-glucose levels alone does not adequately protect people with diabetes from dying of cardiovascular causes.”

The report identifies heart failure and sudden cardiac death as major drivers of the cardiovascular burden among people with type-2 diabetes.

“The likelihood of death from heart failure is elevated to the same level as from myocardial infarction, and sudden cardiac death is twice as common in people with type-2 diabetes as in those without the condition,” Professor Shaw said. “Cardiovascular disease is now responsible for one in three deaths in people with type-2 diabetes.”

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