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By Associated Press
A drug used to help blood sugar in the blood of people with diabetes has now been shown to help prevent or slow down kidney disease, causing millions of deaths each year and requiring hundreds of thousands People should use dialysis to live.
Doctors say it is difficult to exaggerate the importance of this study, and what it means to cure this problem, which is growing because of the obesity epidemic.
The study tested Janssen Pharmaceuticals drug Invokana. The result was discussed Sunday at a medical meeting in Australia and published by the New England Journal of Medicine.
About 30 million Americans and over 420 million people worldwide have diabetes, and most cases are type 2, the type associated with obesity. It occurs when the body cannot do enough or properly use insulin, which turns food into energy.
This can damage the kidneys over time and cause disease and ultimately failure. In the United States, it is the responsibility of nearly half a million people who need dialysis and for thousands of kidney transplants each year.
Some blood pressure agents reduce the risk but they are only partially effective. The new study tested Invokana, a daily pill that is now sold to control blood sugar, to see if it could also help prevent kidney disease when added to standard treatments.
For the study, approximately 13,000 people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease from all over the world were to be given Invokana or dummy pills. Independent monitors stopped the study early after 4,400 people had been treated for an average of about 2.5 years, when it was clear that the drug helped.
Those who had the drug had a 30 percent lower risk of one of these problems – kidney failure, need for dialysis, need for kidney transplant, death from kidney or heart-related causes, or other signs that kidneys failed.
For every 1,000 people taking the drug for 2.5 years there would be 47 fewer cases of one of these problems, researchers appreciate.
The prices of serious side effects were similar in the drug and placebo groups, including bone, foot or toe amputations, a concern raised by a previous study by Invokana. One side effect, when the body cannot produce enough insulin, was more common among those on Invokana but unusual.
Janssen, who is part of Johnson & Johnson, sponsored the study and many authors work or consult for the company. The drug costs about $ 500 a month in the United States. The cost of out-of-pocket patients may be different, depending on insurance.
The importance of this large and well-managed study "cannot be exaggerated", Drs. Julie Ingelfinger and Clifford Rosen, editors of the journal, wrote in an attached article.
In recent years, several studies have shown that Invokana and some similar drugs can lower heart risk. The new results, which show that Invokana can also stop or prevent kidney failure, extend the potential benefits of the drug.