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November 21, 2022
The diabetic kidney disease drug Kerendia (finerenone) has been shown to reduce the risk for pneumonia and poor COVID-19 outcomes in people with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease, according to a new study published in the journal JAMA Network Open.
Kerendia was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2021 as a treatment for kidney and heart complications in people with chronic kidney disease linked to type 2 diabetes. That approval was based on a large study showing that people with chronic kidney disease who took the drug were modestly more likely to avoid worsening kidney function and poor cardiovascular outcomes — such as heart attack, stroke, or death from cardiovascular causes. Since the approval of Kerendia, other studies have shown that diabetic kidney disease benefits from early treatment with multiple drugs — suggesting that Kerendia may be most useful as part of a multi-drug treatment strategy.
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For the latest study, researchers used data from 12,999 participants in two different clinical trials involving Kerendia. They were interested in looking specifically at rates of pneumonia and poor outcomes related to COVID-19 in people who took the drug, which is known to have anti-inflammatory effects that could extend to areas of the body outside the kidneys and heart. In both of the clinical trials, participants with type 2 diabetes and chronic kidney disease were randomly assigned to take either 10 or 20 milligrams of Kerendia once daily, or to take a placebo (inactive pill) for a median treatment duration of 2.6 years. The average age of participants was 64.8, and about 70% were men.
Overall, 4.7% of participants in the Kerendia group and 6.7% of those in the placebo group developed pneumonia during the study period, which meant that Kerendia was linked to a 29% lower pneumonia risk. Serious pneumonia was seen in 2.6% of the Kerendia group and 3.9% of the placebo group, meaning that Kerendia was linked to a 31% lower risk for serious pneumonia. Adverse events related to COVID-19 (such as hospitalization of death) were seen in 1.3% of the Kerendia group and 1.8% of the placebo group, meaning that Kerendia was linked to a 27% lower risk for poor outcomes related to COVID-19.
The researchers concluded that taking Kerendia was linked to a lower risk for pneumonia and poor COVID-19 outcomes, indicating that the drug’s anti-inflammatory effects may extend to the lungs and other areas of the body. Further studies of Kerendia in people without chronic kidney disease may be warranted, they wrote, to see if the drug could be beneficial as a general treatment for pneumonia or serious cases of COVID-19.
Want to learn more about keeping your lungs healthy? Read “Diabetes and Lung Health” and “Quiz: Diabetes and Your Lungs.”
Quinn Phillips on social media
A freelance health writer and editor based in Wisconsin, Phillips has a degree from Harvard University. He is a former Editorial Assistant for Diabetes Self-Management and has years of experience covering diabetes and related health conditions. Phillips writes on a variety of topics, but is especially interested in the intersection of health and public policy.
Disclaimer of Medical Advice: Statements and opinions expressed on this Web site are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the publishers or advertisers. The information, which comes from qualified medical writers, does not constitute medical advice or recommendation of any kind, and you should not rely on any information contained in such posts or comments to replace consultations with your qualified health care professionals to meet your individual needs.
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