News in brief: Another SGLT2 inhibitor subsidised for heart failure; Heart Foundation gets a new CEO; Moderate alcohol cardioprotection is a myth

Thursday, 7 Apr 2022


Another SGLT2 inhibitor subsidised for heart failure

The SGLT-2 inhibitor empagliflozin  (Jardiance) has been listed on the PBS for the treatment of adults with symptomatic heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF), irrespective of the presence of type 2 diabetes.

The drug, which is already subsidised for treatment of patients with T2D, has been listed on the basis of studies such as the EMPEROR-Reduced Trial that showed the addition of empagliflozin to standard of care for patients with HFrEF reduced the relative risk of the composite of cardiovascular death or hospitalisation due to heart failure by 25%.

The listing was welcomed by cardiologist Professor Andrew Coats, President of the Heart Failure Association, who said it had the potential “to make a significant difference to the lives of people with HFrEF, a disease where mortality rates remain high and quality-of-life is often poor.”

“Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction is a very serious and very common illness. One-in four people die within a year of diagnosis, while fatigue, shortness of breath and difficulty walking or climbing stairs can have a profound impact on quality-of-life,” he said.

Another SGLT2 inhibitor, dapagliflozin (Forxiga) was listed on the PBS for the treatment of heart failure in January 2022.


Heart Foundation gets a new CEO

The Heart Foundation is to welcome a new CEO, Mr David Lloyd, after an almost year-long gap since his predecessor Associate Professor John Kelly stood down.

Mr Lloyd is currently interim CEO at South Australian ImmunoGENomics Cancer Institute and has a 25 year career in leadership roles in the for-purpose sector, including 12 years at the Baker Heart and Diabetes Institute.

“The Board conducted an international search to find Mr Lloyd, who will spearhead our strategy and our work on behalf of the wider community and stakeholder networks,” said National Chair of the Heart Foundation, Mr Chris Leptos.He said Mr Lloyd would take up the role in June and had the right mix of skills to guide the Heart Foundation, which had invested over $650 million in heart research over its history.Mr Leptos thanked the Heart Foundation’s Chief Medical Adviser, Professor Garry Jennings AO, for stepping in as interim CEO during the recruitment process.


Moderate alcohol cardioprotection is a myth

The widely accepted notion that there are cardiovascular benefits associated with light alcohol consumption is a myth, according to researchers whose findings show increasing risks at all levels of alcohol intake.

Analysis of data from 371,463 participant in the UK Biobank showed that the apparent benefits of light to moderate alcohol consumption were associated with healthier lifestyle factors. After adjusting for these confounding lifestyle factors, the cardioprotective associations were no longer apparent.

The study authors said genetic epidemiology suggested that alcohol consumption of all amounts was associated with increased cardiovascular riskand the risk increased exponentially at higher alcohol intakes.

“Clinical and public health guidance around habitual alcohol use should account for the considerable differences in cardiovascular risk across different levels of alcohol consumption, even those within current guideline-recommended limits,” they said in JAMA Network Open.

 

 

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