Finerenone treatment of patients with type 2 diabetes and diabetic kidney disease was linked to a significant drop in the incidence of new-onset atrial fibrillation as a prespecified, exploratory endpoint of the FIDELIO-DKD pivotal trial that randomized more than 5,700 patients.
Treatment with finerenone linked with a 29% relative reduction compared with placebo in incident cases of atrial fibrillation (AFib), Gerasimos Filippatos, MD, reported at the annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology.
The absolute reduction was modest, a 1.3% reduction from the 4.5% incidence rate on placebo to a 3.2% rate on finerenone during a median 2.6 years of follow-up. Concurrently with the report, the results appeared online (J Am Coll Cardiol. 2021 May 17. doi: 10.1016/j.jacc.2021.04.079).
The analyses Dr. Filippatos presented also showed that whether or not patients had a history of AFib, there was no impact on either the primary benefit from finerenone treatment seen in FIDELIO-DKD, which was a significant 18% relative risk reduction compared with placebo in the combined rate of kidney failure, a 40% or greater decline from baseline in estimated glomerular filtration rate, or renal death.
Likewise, prior AFib status had no effect on the study’s key secondary endpoint, a significant 14% relative risk reduction in the combined rate of cardiovascular death, nonfatal MI, nonfatal stroke, or hospitalization for heart failure.
The primary results from FIDELIO-DKD (Efficacy and Safety of Finerenone in Subjects With Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus and Diabetic Kidney Disease) appeared in a 2020 report (N Engl J Med. 2020 Dec 3;383;2219-29).
‘Side benefits can be very helpful’
“It’s important to know of finerenone’s benefits beyond the primary outcome of a trial because side benefits can be very helpful,” said Anne B. Curtis, MD, an electrophysiologist and professor and chair of medicine at the University of Buffalo (N.Y.) School of Medicine and Biomedical Sciences. “It’s not a huge benefit, but this could be an added benefit for selected patients,” she said during a press briefing. “Background studies had shown favorable remodeling of the heart [by finerenone] that could affect AFib.”
Possible mitigating effects by finerenone on inflammation and fibrosis might also mediate the drug’s apparent effect on AFib, said Dr. Filippatos, professor of cardiology and director of the Heart Failure and Cardio-Oncology Clinic at Attikon University Hospital and the University of Athens.
He noted that additional data addressing a possible AFib effect of finerenone will emerge soon from the FIGARO-DKD trial, which enrolled patients similar to those in FIDELIO-DKD but with more moderate stages of kidney disease, and from the FINEARTS-HF trial, which is examining the effect of finerenone in patients with heart failure with an ejection fraction of at least 40%.
“Heart failure and AFib go together tightly. It’s worth studying this specifically, so we can see whether there is an impact of finerenone on patients with heart failure who may not necessarily have kidney disease or diabetes,” Dr. Curtis said.