The outcome measure –days alive and out of the hospital – may be a meaningful, patient-centered way of capturing disease burden, the researchers wrote in their paper, published in Annals of Internal Medicine.
“The question was: Can we keep patients alive and out of the hospital for any reason, accounting for the duration of each hospitalization?” author Michael Szarek, PhD, a visiting professor in the division of cardiology at the University of Colorado at Denver, Aurora, said in an interview.
“For every 100 days of follow-up, patients in the sotagliflozin group were alive and out of the hospital 3% more days in relative terms or 2.9 days in absolute terms than those in the placebo group (91.8 vs. 88.9 days),” the researchers reported in their analysis of data from the SOLOIST-WHF trial.
“If you translate that to over the course of a year, that’s more than 10 days,” said Dr. Szarek, who is also a faculty member of CPC Clinical Research, an academic research organization affiliated with the University of Colorado.
Most patients in both groups survived to the end of the study without hospitalization, according to the paper.
Sotagliflozin, a sodium-glucose cotransporter 1 and SGLT2 inhibitor, is not approved in the United States. In 2019, the Food and Drug Administration rejected sotagliflozin as an adjunct to insulin for the treatment of type 1 diabetes after members of an advisory committee expressed concerns about an increased risk for diabetic ketoacidosis with the drug.
Methods and results
To examine whether sotagliflozin increased days alive and out of the hospital in the SOLOIST-WHF trial, Dr. Szarek and colleagues analyzed data from this randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study. The trial’s primary results were published in the New England Journal of Medicine in January 2021. Researchers conducted SOLOIST-WHF at more than 300 sites in 32 countries. The trial included 1,222 patients with type 2 diabetes and reduced or preserved ejection fraction who were recently hospitalized for worsening heart failure.
In the new analysis the researchers looked at hospitalizations for any reason and the duration of hospital admissions after randomization. They analyzed days alive and out of the hospital using prespecified models.
Similar proportions of patients who received sotagliflozin and placebo were hospitalized at least once (38.5% vs. 41.4%) during a median follow-up of 9 months. Fewer patients who received sotagliflozin were hospitalized more than once (16.3% vs. 22.1%). In all, 64 patients in the sotagliflozin group and 76 patients in the placebo group died.
The reason for each hospitalization was unspecified, except for cases of heart failure, the authors noted. About 62% of hospitalizations during the trial were for reasons other than heart failure.
Outside expert cites similarities to initial trial
The results for days alive and out of the hospital are “not particularly surprising given the previous publication” of the trial’s primary results, but the new analysis provides a “different view of outcomes that might be clinically meaningful for patients,” commented Frank Brosius, MD, a professor of medicine at the University of Arizona, Tucson.
The SOLOIST-WHF trial indicated that doctors may be able to effectively treat patients with relatively new heart failure with sotagliflozin as long as patients are relatively stable, said Dr. Brosius, who coauthored an editorial in the New England Journal of Medicine that accompanied the initial results from the SOLOIST-WHF trial. It appears that previously reported benefits with regard to heart failure outcomes “showed up in these other indicators” in the secondary analysis.
Still, the effect sizes in the new analysis were relatively small and “probably more studies will be necessary” to examine these end points, he added.
SOLOIST-WHF was funded by Sanofi at initiation and by Lexicon Pharmaceuticals at completion. Dr. Szarek disclosed grants from Lexicon and grants and personal fees from Sanofi, as well as personal fees from other companies. His coauthors included employees of Lexicon and other researchers with financial ties to Lexicon and other pharmaceutical companies. Dr. Brosius disclosed personal fees from the American Diabetes Association and is a member of the Diabetic Kidney Disease Collaborative task force for the American Society of Nephrology that is broadly advocating the use of SGLT2 inhibitors by patients with diabetic kidney diseases. He also has participated in an advisory group for treatment of diabetic kidney disease for Gilead.
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