FDA clears Novo Nordisk’s diabetes drug to treat heart diseases

(Reuters) – Novo Nordisk said on Friday the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved its diabetes drug as a treatment to reduce the risk of three major cardiovascular diseases.

This is the first time the FDA has cleared a diabetes drug to treat heart-related diseases in patients with type 2 diabetes, the company said in a statement.

The drug, Victoza, which was approved in 2010 to treat patients with type 2 diabetes, brought in 11.5 billion Danish crown ($1.84 billion) in the first six months of 2017.

Type 2 diabetes, closely linked to obesity, accounts for more than 90 percent of all diabetes cases, the company said.

Victoza’s expanded label follows a successful trial that showed the drug significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular death, non-fatal heart attack or non-fatal stroke by 13 percent when compared to a placebo.

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, killing about 610,000 people every year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Adults with type 2 diabetes are up to four times more likely to develop cardiovascular disease, the company said.

Reporting by Tamara Mathias in Bengaluru; Editing by Anil D’Silva

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