Deadlier than the Pandemic: Hope For the Failing Heart

Experts say AstraZeneca’s Dapagliflozin could make a difference in treatment

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Even before COVID19 there has an even bigger health disease that has been affecting and claiming the lives of millions all over the world.

Approximately 64 million people worldwide are affected by Heart Failure, with half of patients dying within five years of diagnosis.

Patients with heart failure experience physical and emotional symptoms. It limits their activities resulting to poor quality of life. Even when resting, some patients start experiencing shortness of breath and feeling gets heavier and heavier each day.

Everyday activities are getting harder making them feel very vulnerable and hopeless. Many patients have shared that they feel as if they are merely waiting for death and feel guilty about placing a huge economic and emotional burden on their families.

A panel of experts discuss how the approval of AstraZeneca’s Dapagliflozin as a treatment option can make a difference in the lives of thousands of Filipinos.

The good news is that heart failure can be treated and even prevented. To raise conversation and awareness, AstraZeneca Philippines hosted a panel of experts from the Philippines and around the world to discuss the latest developments on heart failure.

According to Professor David Sim, President of the Heart Failure Society in Singapore, 9 million people in Southeast Asia have heart failure with an overall 15% mortality rate 5,6. However, pharmacological options for heart failure have increased over the last decade and guideline-directed heart failure pharmacotherapy cumulatively reduces mortality by 76% 7. He highlighted “The approval of dapagliflozin for the treatment of HFrEF in Philippines is a major step forward in the battle against the disease burden of heart failure. Together with the current standard of care, dapagliflozin will contribute further to a lower mortality , less heart failure hospitalization and importantly a better quality of life for the patients suffering from heart failure”.

Professor Piotor Ponikowski of the Heart Failure Association of the European Society of Cardiology added that “heart failure is becoming a preventable and treatable disease, with medication that allows patients to live longer and live better outside of the hospital.”

These current developments in the treatment options bring hope to Filipinos diagnosed with heart failure. With the approval of AstraZeneca’s Dapagliflozin as a treatment option for heart failure, Filipinos can now avail of medication that can mitigate the disease.

In his presentation on Dapagliflozin and Prevention of Adverse-outcomes in Heart Failure Trial (DAPA HF) Trial: A New Era in Heart Failure Management, Professor Piotr Ponikowski says “Dapagliflozin has the ability to reduce mortality, prevent hospital admission, improve clinical status, functional capacity, and quality of life.”

As such, to further work towards improved quality care in the Philippines, AstraZeneca also announced a partnership with the Philippine Heart Association (PHA) to elevate the standardized care and quality improvement efforts for heart failure to promote better awareness, management and options for patients.

Lotis Ramin, AstraZeneca Philippines Country President says, “During this COVID-19 pandemic, people with heart failure are among those at higher risk of complications. Proper disease management will help improve the condition and avoid hospitalization. With the approval of Dapagliflozin for use in adult patients suffering from heart failure with reduced ejection fraction, , we are proud to give hope to the numerous Filipinos affected by heart failure. Through our partnership with PHA, we aim for a comprehensive cardiovascular care program from prevention, timely diagnosis, and management of symptoms for heart failure to create a meaningful difference in the lives of Filipinos.”

Do not delay. Get an early diagnosis and begin treatment. Start a conversation on heart failure with your doctor today.

What is Dapagliflozin?

Dapagliflozin is the first and only drug under the sodium glucose transport protein 2 inhibitor (SGLT2i) class approved to treat heart failure in adult patients with reduced ejection fraction (pumapalyang puso). 10,11,12 It is the only SGLT2i proven to significantly prevent cardiovascular death and death due to other causes in these heart failure patients.9

This approval was based on the landmark trial Dapagliflozin and Prevention of Adverse-outcomes in Heart Failure Trial (DAPA HF) 1. It is the first outcomes trial with an SGLT2 inhibitor investigating the treatment of Heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF).1 The results showed a reduction of 26% in the occurence of cardiovascular death, hospitalization for heart failure (hHF) and Urgent Hospital Visit for heart failure (HF) along with a 30% reduction in hHF. 1 Dapagliflozin’s significant 18% reduction in cardiovascular death and 17% reduction on death due to other causes which were only seen in the DAPA HF study. 9

Dapagliflozin has offered an additional treatment option for patients suffering from the symptoms of heart failure and are at risk of dying given the high mortality rate of the disease. Safety findings in patients were consistent with the well established safety profile of Dapagliflozin in previous studies. It is consistent regardless of age, gender, severity of heart failure, diabetes status and kidney function1. Dapagliflozin was well tolerated and adverse event rarely led to the discontinuation of treatment1,8.

In the Philippines, Dapagliflozin is now approved for the treatment of heart failure with reduced ejection fraction in adult patients. Dapagliflozin is a prescription medicine.10 Patients should not self- medicate and should consult their physicians regarding their condition and treatment.

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