New kidney drugs emerge in the fight against CKD

After decades of relatively little progress, patients with CKD are finally getting access to promising new kidney drugs. We’re optimistic about a new chapter in kidney disease management, fueled by an active pipeline of new and innovative medications.

Here are a few notable drugs that have been making headlines in the kidney care industry.

SGLT-2 Inhibitors

If you’re familiar with our work at Empowered Kidney Care, you know we are big fans of SGLT-2 Inhibitors. Initially designed as a medication for diabetics, this drug quickly demonstrated significant benefits for kidney health. SGLT-2s were a key part of our successful initiatives to preserve kidney function at the Texas Health Science Center in San Antonio.

SGLT-2 Inhibitors include Invokana (Vifor (Relypsa)/Janssen), Farxiga (AstraZeneca), Jardiance (Eli Lilly/Boehringer Ingelheim), and Steglatro (Merck).

Photo courtesy of medpagetoday.com

Finerenone

Finerenone affects a previously unexplored pathway to kidney health. Recent studies have shown that
by reducing fibrosis and inflammation, this drug helped control creatinine and delayed the need for
dialysis.

Tirzepatide

Tirzepatide (Mounjaro) helps control blood sugar for adults with type 2 diabetes. High blood sugar puts extra strain on the kidneys, and 50% of CKD patients have diabetes too. By moving “upstream” with new kidney drugs like Tirzepatide, we hope to preserve kidney function before it becomes a problem.

Image courtesy of everydayhealth.com

Budesonide

Budesonide (Tarpeyo) helps reduce protein levels in the urine. Recent studies have found that it affects a rare but serious type of kidney disease: IgA nephropathy (AKA Berger’s disease). This autoimmune condition causes IgA antibodies to build up in the kidneys, causing inflammation and damage.

Patients with IgA nephropathy face a high risk of progressing to dialysis, and historically, they have had very few treatment options. We’re hopeful that budesonide will provide a valuable opportunity to preserve kidney function for these patients.

How do you talk to your doctor about new kidney drugs?

The kidney care industry can be reluctant to change. They have been doing things the same way for decades. Plus, most nephrologists focus their time and energy on patients with severe end-stage renal disease (ESRD). They may not know of these promising new options to preserve kidney function.

Fortunately, several related disciplines have a little more momentum and hunger for innovation. Many endocrinologists and cardiologists are already prescribing these new medications to help combat diabetes and heart disease.

If you’re interested in exploring new medications, start by talking to your primary care (PCP). A good PCP is like the quarterback of your healthcare team, coordinating efforts and connecting the dots between disciplines and specialties. They can help you understand your medications and how they might be modified or improved. If they have any doubts, they can refer you to a specialist.

Close-up of a doctor wearing a white coat and stethoscope prescribing medication and supplements to a senior patient

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Empowered Kidney Care

The Empowered Kidney Care staff is made up of doctors, nurses, educators, and change-makers all dedicated to revolutionizing the kidney care experience in America.