Statins for Diabetic Patients

People with type-2 diabetes mellitus (non-insulin-dependent diabetes) and coronary artery disease (CAD), as well as patients with diabetes and any other risk for cardiovascular disease, should be taking cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins), according to new guidelines published by the American College of Physicians (ACP).

Approximately 80% of people with type-2 diabetes experience or die of complications of heart and vascular disease, and about 65% of deaths among people with diabetes are a result of heart disease and stroke, according to the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes is itself a major risk factor for heart disease.

The ACP recommends that:

  • All adults with type-2 diabetes and known CAD take statins, regardless of cholesterol levels.
  • All type-2 diabetic patients with another risk factor for CAD take statins or the non-statin drug gemfibrozil (Lopid tablet, Parke-Davis) regardless of cholesterol levels.
  • Routine monitoring of liver function or muscle enzymes is probably not needed for patients with type-2 diabetes who are taking statins unless they also have a liver abnormality or muscle pain or are taking drugs that interact with statins.