Type II Diabetes - VictozaPHILADELPHIA — It appears a popular diabetes drug isn’t exactly doing what it’s meant to do.

According to a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association, Victoza — a widely prescribed diabetes drug — failed to reduce deaths or rehospitalizations in a study of patients with advanced heart failure.

The Philadelphia Inquirer, which published the findings of the study in early August, reported that there was a trend toward worse outcomes among the heart-failure patients who also had diabetes.

However, the outcomes could have occurred by chance, according to the Inquirer.

“We were hoping for a benefit; we didn’t see that. It’s at best neutral,” said lead researcher Dr. Kenneth Margulies, a professor of medicine and research director of heart failure and transplantation at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

The clinical trial of 300 patients spanned six months and was led by the University of Pennsylvania. It involved 24 U.S. centers, including: Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, Temple University Hospital, and Lancaster Heart and Stroke Foundation.

Among the 271 patients who completed the study, Victoza had no significant effect on any of the outcomes Margulies’ team was looking for, according to Medline Plus. Among those taking Victoza, 12 percent died.

Eleven percent of those receiving placebo died, the study found. Forty-one percent of those taking Victoza were rehospitalized for heart failure, compared with 34 percent of those receiving placebo, the research showed.

According to The Inquirer, the theory behind the new study was that Novo Nordisk Inc.’s liraglutide, a diabetes drug, would improve the response of cardiac cells to insulin during heart failure. By doing so, the diabetes drug essentially reduces metabolic stress in the heart.

That theory, according to the Inquirer, was bolstered by circumstantial evidence as well as a major cardiovascular safety study of liraglutide required by the Food and Drug Administration. However, the new study — funded by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute — found that patients had no better outcomes on liraglutide than on a placebo.

The study reported people with type 2 diabetes taking Victoza had a slightly higher, though nonsignificant, risk of death and rehospitalization, as well as signs of worsening kidney function.

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