September 28, 2022
FOCUS-US Task Force to consider routine kidney disease screening

An influential U.S. panel has added screening for chronic kidney disease (CKD) to its list of preventive services under active consideration, the group’s chair told Reuters, a move that could help identify patients eligible for new drugs that treat the disease earlier.

The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) last addressed the issue in 2012, finding insufficient evidence to assess routine screening for CKD in asymptomatic adults. That conclusion does not reflect the latest science and is now inactive, Dr. Carol Mangione, chair of the government-backed panel, said in an email. The change has not been announced in any public forums, a USPSTF spokesperson confirmed.

A potential update is being driven in part by new drugs that can slow the progression of a disease with no symptoms in its early stages but that can lead to kidney failure, which is fatal without dialysis filtering or a kidney transplant. “For screening to help people live longer, healthier lives, clinicians must be able to treat the condition once it is found. The existence of effective treatments is one of many important factors that the Task Force considers,” Mangione said.

Newer type 2 diabetes treatments known as SGLT2 inhibitors that work by prompting the kidneys to expel excess blood sugar through urine have been shown to have separate beneficial effects on the heart and kidneys. AstraZeneca’s Farxiga won U.S. approval last year to slow progression of early-stage kidney disease. A large trial of Eli Lilly and Boehringer Ingelheim’s Jardiance was stopped in March after it became clear the drug was beneficial for kidney disease patients.

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