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Study Shows Statins lower the Risk of Cardiovascular Disease


NEW YORK (Reuters Health) - Lipid-lowering therapy, consisting almost entirely of statins, substantially lowered the risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and cardiovascular death in individuals with type 1 diabetes without a history of CVD, according to a new study.

Among more than 24,000 Swedish patients with type 1 diabetes, over a mean follow-up of six years, primary prevention with lipid-lowering therapy (LLT) reduced the incidence of cardiovascular death, all-cause death, stroke, coronary heart disease, and acute myocardial infarction.

The risk of cardiovascular death was reduced by 40%, while the reductions for acute MI and coronary heart disease were 22% and 15%, respectively, according to an article online on April 18 in Diabetes Care.

In email to Reuters Health, corresponding author Dr. Christel Hero, of the Institute of Medicine, University of Gothenburg, Sahlgrenska University Hospital, Gothenburg, Sweden, emphasized that "individuals with type 1 diabetes are at enhanced risk for CVD compared to the general population."

The study encompassed 24,230 individuals with type 1 diabetes (mean age 39.4 years): 5,387 treated with lipid-lowering medication and 18,843 untreated. In 97% of cases, LLT was with statins.

Hazard ratios for treated versus untreated participants were significant for all outcomes: cardiovascular death, 0.60; all-cause death, 0.56; fatal/nonfatal stroke, 0.56; fatal/nonfatal acute myocardial infarction, 0.78; and fatal/nonfatal coronary heart disease 0.85. Hazard ratios in a one-to-one matched cohort with 4,025 treated and 4,025 untreated individuals were significant only for all-cause death (0.74).

"Our study shows convincing effects of LLT in preventing all cardiovascular endpoints, even if the effect on reducing cardiovascular morbidity, except for stroke, was lesser than the effect on cardiovascular death and all-cause death," the authors wrote.

This study, Dr. Urman said, supports the idea that essentially all type 1 diabetics should be taking statins (absent any contraindications).

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