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EMPA-KIDNEY: Introduction to the trial

Welcome to the EMPA-KIDNEY study website. EMPA-KIDNEY is a clinical trial testing whether taking a single pill of empagliflozin every day prevents worsening of kidney disease or deaths from heart disease in people who have chronic kidney disease.

STUDY DESIGN

EMPA-KIDNEY is a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled trial of empagliflozin versus matching placebo in 5,000 people with chronic kidney disease, with or without diabetes. It will continue for about 3-4 years and will assess if empagliflozin reduces the risk of kidney disease progression or cardiovascular death.

Information about the study for people with chronic kidney disease can be found in our FAQ section.

Information about the study and empagliflozin for healthcare professionals can be found in our Professionals section.

STUDY RATIONALE

There is now a new medication called empagliflozin which was originally developed to treat high blood sugar in people with diabetes, but has recently been shown to have beneficial effects on both the heart and kidney. Empagliflozin causes blood sugar (equivalent to 10 teaspoons a day) to pass into the urine. It likely also increases the amount of salt (sodium) passing into the urine. This results in a modest fall in body weight and blood pressure. 

Importantly, a large clinical trial has shown that empagliflozin reduces the number of deaths from heart disease in people who already have both heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Because of these results, empagliflozin is used in selected patients with diabetes around the world. The same study suggested empagliflozin might reduce kidney problems. From the way we think the pills work, there is good reason to believe this new medication could benefit people who have kidney disease, whether they have diabetes or not.

CHRONIC KIDNEY DISEASE

Chronic Kidney Disease (CKD) is a common condition, affecting perhaps as much as 10% of the UK and US populations. It is diagnosed and monitored by means of blood and urine tests. CKD has many causes, the commonest of which in the UK are increasing age, diabetes, high blood pressure, inflammation in the kidney and inherited diseases. It is known that people with kidney disease are both at risk of their kidney problem worsening and developing heart problems.

study funding

Studies such as EMPA-KIDNEY take a very large amount of collaborative effort from many hundreds of research staff around the world and can be costly to run. The study is sponsored by Boehringer Ingelheim which is providing the study pills. Boehringer Ingelheim has also provided a grant to the University of Oxford. Those running the study at the University of Oxford also receive support from the UK Medical Research Council and British Heart Foundation to run trials.

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