Diabetes drug not helpful for heart failure patients

Results showed no significant difference in number of deaths or rehospitalisations in patients given liraglutide compared with placebo.

Molecular structure of liraglutide

Heart failure patients often have abnormal cardiac metabolism, such as insulin resistance. Small studies have suggested that improving insulin resistance might improve clinical stability for heart failure patients, regardless of whether they have diabetes. 

To find out, researchers conducted a phase II randomised clinical trial in which 300 patients recently hospitalised with heart failure and reduced left ventricular ejection fraction were given the diabetes drug liraglutide or placebo for 210 days. 

However, liraglutide did not improve time to subsequent hospitalisation or death. There were 19 deaths in the liraglutide group and 63 rehospitalisations for heart failure compared with 16 deaths (P=0.78) and 50 rehospitalisations (P=0.17) in the placebo group. 

The authors of the study, published in JAMA (online, 2 August 2016)[1]
, say that the results do not support a therapeutic benefit of liraglutide in patients with advanced heart failure.


[1] Margulies KB, Hernandez AF, Redfield MM et al. Effects of liraglutide on clinical stability among patients with advanced heart failure and reduced ejection fraction. Journal of the American Medical Association 2016;316:500–508. doi: 10.1001/jama.2016.10260

Last updated
Clinical Pharmacist, CP, September 2016, Vol 8, No 9;8(9):DOI:10.1211/PJ.2016.20201551

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