Cardiovascular outcomes among participants with diabetes in the recent large statin trials.
Armitage J., Bowman L.
PURPOSE OF REVIEW: Despite their increased cardiovascular risk and its continuous relationship with cholesterol, until recently only diabetic patients with marked dyslipidaemia were routinely offered lipid-lowering therapy. The secondary prevention statin trials led to more widespread cholesterol lowering in patients with coronary disease and diabetes. Here we review the results of recent randomized trials, which included substantial numbers of patients with diabetes and no vascular disease. RECENT FINDINGS: The MRC/BHF Heart Protection Study included 5963 participants with diabetes, of whom 2912 had no history of vascular disease at baseline. Patients were randomized to 40 mg simvastatin daily or matching placebo for 5 years, which, on average, reduced LDL by 1.0 mmol/l compared with placebo. Highly significant reductions of about one-quarter in major vascular events were seen both overall and in different types of patient with diabetes, including those with average and below average lipid levels. Recent data from the Antihypertensive and Lipid-Lowering Treatment to Prevent Heart Attack Trial and the Anglo-Scandinavian Cardiac Outcomes Trial support these findings and are consistent with these effects. SUMMARY: Good quality, randomized trials including substantial numbers of patients with diabetes show that such patients obtain the same proportional benefit as other groups studied. Given their increased cardiovascular risk, these findings argue for a simple strategy of considering routine statin therapy for patients with type 2 diabetes and adult patients with type 1 diabetes, irrespective of lipid levels. As generic statins become available this could have a greater impact on the burden of cardiovascular disease in diabetes than restricted and targeted therapy.