Diabetes Drug Can Help Prevent Or Slow Down Kidney Disease, Study Found

Diabetes can damage the kidneys over the course of time that can lead to the organ's disease and failure.
Diabetes can damage the kidneys over the course of time that can lead to the organ's disease and failure. (Photo: Fort George G. Meade/Flickr)

A new study revealed a drug that has been used to help control people with diabetes' blood sugar could aid to prevent or slow down kidney disease. The drug in question is Janssen Pharmaceuticals' Invokana, and it has been proven effective to alleviate the illness that has killed millions and required the use of dialysis to stay alive.

According to Time, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, which is part of Johnson & Johnson, sponsored the study of Invokana. The test's results were discussed at a medical meeting in Australia and published on the New England Journal of Medicine.

Doctors say it is hard to overemphasize the study's importance and what it means to control diabetes. Due to the obesity epidemic, there are reports the number of people with diabetes is now growing.

About 30 million Americans and over 420 million people all over the world have diabetes. The most common type is Type 2, which is tied to obesity. The illness develops when the body can't create enough or properly use insulin that turns food into energy.

Diabetes can damage the kidneys over the course of time that can eventually cause disease and worst, failure. In the U.S. alone, almost half a million people have to undergo dialysis, while thousands of them have to experience kidney transplants every year.

Although blood pressure drugs lower the risk of having kidney problems, it is only effective in some measure. Hence, the Invokana test was made to see if it could help prevent the disease when added to standard treatments to control blood sugar.

According to The Philadelphia Tribune, about 13,000 people with Type 2 diabetes and chronic disease all over the world participated in the study. They were given with Invokana or dummy pills to see if it would help lessen the treatment's effects to kidneys.

As a result, researchers found out Invokana helped to lower the risk of one of these problems - the need to go for dialysis, kidney transplant, kidney failure, death from kidney or heart-related issue, or other signs that kidneys were failing - by 30 percent. For every 1,000 people taking Invokana for two and a half years, there would be 47 fewer cases of one of these issues.

Other studies that have been made in recent years found out that Invokana and other similar drugs could also lower heart risks. So, the new discovery that the drug could prevent kidney failure expanded its use and potential benefits.

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