Drug discoveries occur almost by accident, or accidental observation. Think insulin and penicillin.
And the very first drug that was found to prolong the survival of individuals with Type 2 diabetes may also be able to deal with heart failure.
It’s a stimulating action on the tired heart muscle making it work better by creating more energy giving it a fresh lease of life.
Grantedthe US study is in animal models but the news the drug empagliflozin (EPG) can reverse the worsening of heart failure is startling.
“This medication could be a promising treatment for heart failure in both diabetic and senile patients,” said the study’s lead author Juan Badimon, professor of cardiology at the Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York.
“Our research may lead to a potential application in people, save lives and enhance quality of life.”
People with diabetes have a greater chance of getting heart failure but in previous research on EPG it was detected that patients didn’t develop heart failure.
So researchers asked physicians if the drug alleviates heart failure independently of its anti-diabetic activity.
And, above all, could it have the same proactive effect on individuals without diabetes?

To answer these questions, the team evaluated two groups of beans with heart failure, one on EPG the other on a placebo.

After two months, all of the creatures in the group treated with EPG had improved heart function.
Especially , they had less water accumulation in the lungs — meaning less pulmonary congestion, responsible for causing shortness of breath in human patients — and lower levels of biomarkers of heart failure.
Significantly, the left ventricle (the main pumping chamber of the heart)had stronger contractions, had got smaller, were less worried and were significantly less thick (a sign of regaining heart failure), and the heart was also a normal form.
The researchers discovered the medication seemed to have a double action. It not only improved heart failure but also the metabolism of heart muscle.
The hearts of beans on the medication were utilizing more fatty acids and ketones but less glucose to create energy, as opposed to heart failure patients (diabetic and non-diabetic), whose hearts use more sugar and nearly no fatty acids. Consequently they create less energy for pumping.
It’s the drug’s increase in heart metabolism which helped the heart produce more energy and function more strongly and economically.
The writers are now extending their research to whether EPG is an effective heart failure treatment in patients without diabetes.