Diabetes drug could be soon approved for treating heart failure

Diabetes drug could be soon approved for treating heart failure

PITTSBURGH — We could find out very soon if a drug used to treat diabetes will have another approved use. Right now, the FDA is deciding whether it can be used to help patients with heart failure.

Dr. Manreet Kanwar and her patient, Lisa McKenzie haven’t needed to catch up as much lately because she's has been feeling a lot better.

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"I noticed that I didn’t have any problems breathing," said McKenzie. "My walking everything works, like everything works, like magic."

McKenzie was part of an international trial to see if a medication typically given to those with type two diabetes could help patients with heart failure. The drug is called Farxiga.

"Originally, it was showing patients who had diabetes, who happened to have heart failure, got better," said Kanwar, a cardiologist with Allegheny General Hospital. "But now, we know patients who have heart failure, who happen to have diabetes or not, will benefit from it."

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Dr. Kanwar, of Allegheny Health Network, enrolled 22 of her cardiac patients in the study. The results just came out in September.

"This drug showed it made their symptoms better and it allowed them a better quality of life," said Dr. Kanwar.

McKenzie was on the verge of needing a heart transplant. But she made lifestyle changes and got off the list before she became a candidate for the Farxiga trial.

"I felt like my heart was dangling or whatever. I don’t know if it mended it back together or exactly how it worked, but its awesome. It’s awesome," said McKenzie.

Now, the FDA is on a fast track to approve Farxiga to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death or the worsening of heart failure in patients with or without diabetes.