PHILADELPHIA – The substantial benefits from adding dapagliflozin to guideline-directed medical therapy for patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction enrolled in the DAPA-HF trial applied to patients regardless of their age or baseline health status, a pair of new post hoc analyses suggest.
These findings emerged a day after a report that more fully delineated dapagliflozin’s consistent safety and efficacy in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) regardless of whether they also had type 2 diabetes. One of the new, post hoc analyses reported at the American Heart Association scientific sessions suggested that even the most elderly enrolled patients, 75 years and older, had a similar cut in mortality and acute heart failure exacerbations, compared with younger patients. A second post hoc analysis indicated that patients with severe heart failure symptoms at entry into the trial received about as much benefit from the addition of dapagliflozin as did patients with mild baseline symptoms, measured by the Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ).
The primary results from the DAPA-HF (Dapagliflozin and Prevention of Adverse Outcomes in Heart Failure) trial, first reported in August 2019, showed that among more than 4,700 patients with HFrEF randomized to receive the sodium-glucose cotransporter 2 (SGLT2) inhibitor dapagliflozin (Farxiga) on top of standard HFrEF medications or placebo, those who received dapagliflozin had a statistically significant, 26% decrease in their incidence of the primary study endpoint over a median 18 months, regardless of diabetes status (N Engl J Med. 2019 Nov 21;381:1995-2008).
“These benefits were entirely consistent across the range of ages studied,” extending from patients younger than 55 years to those older than 75 years, John McMurray, MD, said at the meeting. “In many parts of the world, particularly North America and Western Europe, we have an increasingly elderly population. Many patients with heart failure are much older than in clinical trials,” he said.
“The thing of concern is whether elderly patients get as much benefit and tolerate treatment as well as younger patients,” said Dr. McMurray, professor of medical cardiology at the University of Glasgow.
“Dapagliflozin worked across all ages, including some very elderly patients enrolled in the trial,” said Mary Norine Walsh, MD, medical director of the heart failure and transplant program at St. Vincent Heart Center of Indiana in Indianapolis. “Many trials have not looked at age like this. I hope this is a new way to analyze trials to produce more information that can help patients,” she said in an interview.
The other new, post hoc analysis showed that patients with severe HF symptoms at entry into the trial received about as much benefit from the addition of dapagliflozin as did patients with milder baseline symptoms and less impaired function, measured by the KCCQ. Dapagliflozin treatment “improved cardiovascular death and worsening heart failure to a similar extent across the entire range of KCCQ at baseline,” Mikhail N. Kosiborod, MD, said in a separate talk at the meeting. In addition, dapagliflozin treatment increased the rate of small, moderate, and large clinically meaningful improvements in patients’ KCCQ scores across all key domains of the metric, which scores symptom frequency and severity, physical and social limitations, and quality of life, said Dr. Kosiborod, a cardiologist and professor of medicine at the University of Missouri–Kansas City.