Health Advice



New treatment for heart failure

By Michael Roizen, M.D. on

"Star Trek" knows about transporter inhibitors: Lieutenant Commander Data used one while on a Federation mission scout ship to prevent himself from being beamed away by a USS Enterprise-E shuttlecraft. Sodium-glucose Cotransporter-2 Inhibitors may provide similarly effective protection from medical woes for people with heart failure.

Known as SGLT2 inhibitors, this Type 2 diabetes medication lowers blood sugar by causing the kidneys to remove sugar from the body through the urine. But according to a new study in Annals of Internal Medicine, it is also hugely beneficial for folks with heart failure -- regardless of whether or not they have diabetes. The researchers analyzed eight randomized, controlled trials that included more than 15,000 participants. They found that after one year of treatment, SGLT2 inhibitors were associated with a 32% lower risk for hospitalization due to heart failure and a 26% reduction after two years. In addition, the medication reduced the risk of cardiovascular death by 14%. It seems to work by reducing the sodium content in heart cells which reduces a calcium overload that can cause arrhythmias.

But -- and there is always a but -- the medication does have side effects. The researcher highlighted the risk of genital infections and the Food and Drug Administration says that it also has been associated with kidney problems, leg and foot amputations, decreased bone mineral density and UTIs.

So if you have heart failure, ask your doctor about the benefits and risks of SGLT2 inhibitors for you. And check out the Cleveland Clinic's "Living with Heart Failure" information at



Health pioneer Michael Roizen, M.D., is chief wellness officer emeritus at the Cleveland Clinic and author of four No. 1 New York Times bestsellers. His next book is "The Great Age Reboot: Cracking the Longevity Code for a Younger Tomorrow." Do you have a topic Dr. Mike should cover in a future column? If so, please email

(c)2022 Michael Roizen, M.D.

Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.

(c) 2022 Michael Roizen, M.D. Distributed by King Features Syndicate, Inc.


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