News from the FDA/CDC

FDA approves new drug, sotagliflozin, for heart failure


Sotagliflozin, a novel agent that inhibits sodium-glucose cotransporter 1 as well as SGLT2, has received marketing approval from the Food and Drug Administration for reducing the risk for cardiovascular death, hospitalization for heart failure, and urgent heart failure visits in patients with heart failure, and also for preventing these same events in patients with type 2 diabetes, chronic kidney disease (CKD), and other cardiovascular disease risk factors.

This puts sotagliflozin in direct competition with two SGLT2 inhibitors, dapagliflozin (Farxiga) and empagliflozin (Jardiance), that already have indications for preventing heart failure hospitalizations in patients with heart failure as well as approvals for type 2 diabetes and preservation of renal function.

Officials at Lexicon Pharmaceuticals, the company that developed and will market sotagliflozin under the trade name Inpefa, said in a press release that they expect U.S. sales of the agent to begin before the end of June 2023. The release also highlighted that the approval broadly covered use in patients with heart failure across the full range of both reduced and preserved left ventricular ejection fractions.

Lexicon officials also said that the company will focus on marketing sotagliflozin for preventing near-term rehospitalizations of patients discharged after an episode of acute heart failure decompensation.

They base this niche target for sotagliflozin on results from the SOLOIST-WHF trial, which randomized 1,222 patients with type 2 diabetes recently hospitalized for worsening heart failure and showed a significant 33% reduction in the rate of deaths from cardiovascular causes and hospitalizations and urgent visits for heart failure, compared with control patients during a median 9 months of follow-up. Nearly half of the enrolled patients received their first dose while still hospitalized, while the other half received their first dose a median of 2 days after hospital discharge. The drug appeared safe.

Cutting heart failure rehospitalizations in half

An exploratory post hoc analysis of SOLOIST-WHF showed that treatment with sotagliflozin cut the rate of rehospitalizations roughly in half after both 30 and 90 days compared with control patients, according to an abstract presented at the 2022 annual scientific sessions of the AHA that has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed journal.

The only SGLT2 inhibitor tested so far when initiated in patients during hospitalization for heart failure is empagliflozin, in the EMPULSE trial, which randomized 530 patients. EMPULSE also showed that starting an SGLT2 inhibitor in this setting was safe and resulted in significant clinical benefit, the study’s primary endpoint, defined as a composite of death from any cause, number of heart failure events, and time to first heart failure event, or a 5-point or greater difference in change from baseline in the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire Total Symptom Score at 90 days.

In the DELIVER trial, which tested dapagliflozin in patients with heart failure with preserved ejection fraction, roughly 10% of patients started study treatment during or within 30 days of heart failure hospitalization, and in this subgroup, dapagliflozin appeared as effective as it was in the other 90% of patients who did not start the drug during an acute or subacute phase.

Despite the SOLOIST-WHF evidence for sotagliflozin’s safety and efficacy in this economically important clinical setting, some experts say the drug faces an uphill path as it contends for market share against two solidly established, albeit dramatically underused, SGLT2 inhibitors. (Recent data document that 20% or fewer of U.S. patients eligible for treatment with an SGLT2 inhibitor receive it, such as a review of 49,000 patients hospitalized during 2021-2022 with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction.)

Others foresee a clear role for sotagliflozin, particularly because of additional facets of the drug’s performance in trials that they perceive give it an edge over dapagliflozin and empagliflozin. This includes evidence that sotagliflozin treatment uniquely (within the SGLT2 inhibitor class) cuts the rate of strokes and myocardial infarctions, as well as evidence of its apparent ability to lower hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes and with an estimated glomerular filtration rate below 30 mL/min per 1.73 m2, a property likely linked to inhibition of SGLT1 in the gut that dampens intestinal glucose absorption.


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