Adding Byetta to diabetes regimen could cut heart failure risk

SAN DIEGO — Use of a drug for Type 2 diabetes made by Eli Lilly and Amylin Pharmaceuticals may lower patients’ risk of heart failure, according to a new study.

The study of more than 778,000 patients taking the injected drug Byetta (exenatide) found that adding the drug to a pre-existing diabetes regimen, especially if that regimen included insulin, was associated with reduced likelihood of heart failure. Results were presented Saturday at the 71st Scientific Sessions of the American Diabetes Association in San Diego.

The companies also are conducting another study for Bydureon, a long-acting formulation of Byetta. The study, called “EXSCEL,” began last year and will include about 9,500 patients with results expected as early as 2016. The study is designed to determine if Bydureon has favorable cardiovascular effects compared with traditional diabetes medications.