Cardiovascular autonomic neuropathy (CAN) is a common and often fatal complication of diabetes affecting more than 100 million people worldwide.
“CAN causes disturbances in the brain’s nerve regulation and can result in heart arrythmia, blood clots and death. There is no cure against CAN and consequently research in new treatment options is required,” explains Christina Brock, professor at Aalborg University Hospital, Department of Gastroenterology and Hepatology. Ms Brock is heading the research being conducted.
The glucose lowering agent sodium-glucose co-transporter inhibitor (SGLT2i) has demonstrated organ protective effects on the renal and the cardiovascular system.
This indicates that the organ protective effect is not glucose-mediated and since optimised control of the glucose level can counteract early-stage CAN, the researchers believe that SGLT2i offers great potential in the treatment of CAN.
Moreover, the combination of SGLT2i and mineralocorticoid receptor-antagonists (MRA) has shown increased organ protective effect. Consequently, the researchers assume that this combination will also have a positive effect on CAN.
“In order to investigate this, we have designed a randomized control trial. We investigate the effect of 78 weeks of treatment with either 1) SGLT2i, 2) SGLT2i and MRA or 3) standard anti-diabetic treatment and placebo in 150 citizens with type 2 diabetes and varying degrees of CAN. Our ambitious study will be able to uncover new targeted treatment options and with this prevent diabetic complications, increase life expectancy and prevent hospital admissions for patients with diabetes,” explains Christina Brock.