The researchers also found that the drug has the potential to prevent heart failure in diabetic patients who never had the condition before.
“One conclusion that could be proposed is that the drug not only appeared to prevent deterioration in patients who already had heart failure but also appeared to prevent that condition from developing in patients who never had it before,” said one of the researchers Silvio Inzucchi, professor at Yale School of Medicine in New Haven in the US.
Many individuals with Type-2 diabetes also have heart failure, a condition in which the heart fails to pump blood effectively.
Treatment for heart failure is limited and prior efforts to treat patients with Type-2 diabetes drugs showed no benefit for heart failure.
But a new class of Type-2 diabetes drugs (SGLT2 inhibitors) that reduce blood sugar by increasing its excretion in the urine had not been studied.
In the new trial, patients with Type-2 diabetes and risk factors for heart disease were randomised to receive once-daily doses of either the glucose-lowering drug empagliflozin (10 mg or 25 mg doses), or a placebo.
The drug or placebo was given in addition to standard care.
At the end of the trial period, investigators found that patients treated with the drug experienced reductions in blood sugar and blood pressure, as well as weight loss, compared to those on placebo.
They also found major significant reductions in hospitalisations for heart failure (35 percent).
The findings were presented at the 2015 American Heart Association (AHA) scientific session in Orlando, Florida.