Diabetes drug cuts cardiovascular and kidney problems

Author: Jo Carlowe

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A large international trial has linked the use of the drug dulaglutide with a reduction in cardiovascular events in middle-aged and older people with type 2 diabetes.

The clinical trial* followed more than 9,900 people in 24 countries. During more than five years of follow-up, cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes were reduced by 12% in people taking dulaglutide compared to people taking a placebo.

This effect was seen in both men and women with or without previous cardiovascular disease. In addition, during the same period, the drug reduced the development of kidney disease by 15%.

The trial was led by the Population Health Research Institute (PHRI) of McMaster University and Hamilton Health Sciences, Canada. Two papers describing the cardiovascular and kidney results of the trial were published in the journal The Lancet from the study called the Researching Cardiovascular Events with a Weekly Incretin in Diabetes (REWIND) trial.

"Compared to others, people with diabetes have twice the rate of cardiovascular events like heart attacks and strokes, and up to 40% of people with diabetes develop kidney disease," said Hertzel Gerstein, principal investigator for the study, professor of medicine at McMaster and deputy director of the PHRI.

"The REWIND trial shows that dulaglutide can safely reduce these events while improving diabetes control and modestly lowering weight and blood pressure in middle-aged people with type 2 diabetes.”

Dulaglutide is a glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonist that is injected once per week.

The drug was well tolerated, modestly reduced weight, low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol and blood pressure, and modestly increased heart rate.


* Gerstein HC, et al. Dulaglutide and cardiovascular outcomes in type 2 diabetes (REWIND): a double-blind, randomised placebo-controlled trial. The Lancet, published online 09 June 2019.

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