Find Information About:

Drugs & Supplements

Get information and reviews on prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, vitamins, and supplements. Search by name or medical condition.

Pill Identifier

Pill Identifier

Having trouble identifying your pills?

Enter the shape, color, or imprint of your prescription or OTC drug. Our pill identification tool will display pictures that you can compare to your pill.

Get Started

My Medicine

Save your medicine, check interactions, sign up for FDA alerts, create family profiles and more.

Get Started

WebMD Health Experts and Community

Talk to health experts and other people like you in WebMD's Communities. It's a safe forum where you can create or participate in support groups and discussions about health topics that interest you.

  • Second Opinion

    Second Opinion

    Read expert perspectives on popular health topics.

  • Community


    Connect with people like you, and get expert guidance on living a healthy life.

Got a health question? Get answers provided by leading organizations, doctors, and experts.

Get Answers

Sign up to receive WebMD's award-winning content delivered to your inbox.

Sign Up

Diabetes Health Center

Font Size

Statins for All Adults With Diabetes?

Study: One-Third Less Diabetes-Linked Heart Disease With Cholesterol-Lowering Drugs
WebMD Health News
Reviewed by Louise Chang, MD

Jan 10, 2008 -- One-third fewer people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes would suffer heart attacks or strokes if they took cholesterol-lowering statin drugs, a U.K. study suggests.

Cardiovascular disease eventually kills two-thirds of people with diabetes, notes Colin Baigent, FFPH, FRCP, of England's Medical Research Council. High levels of "bad" LDL cholesterol play a major role.

Statin drugs -- sold in the U.S. as Crestor, Lescol XL, Lipitor, Mevacor, Pravachol, and Zocor -- lower LDL cholesterol. In people without diabetes, the drugs cut the risk of heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular diseases. But it hasn't been clear whether people with diabetes get as much benefit.

They do, Baigent and colleagues find. The researchers pooled data from 18,686 people with diabetes enrolled in 14 clinical trials of statins.

The result: People with diabetes, whether they are male or female, get just as much benefit from statins as anyone else. If 1,000 people with diabetes took statins for five years, 42 of them would avoid heart death, heart attack, or coronary revascularization (bypass or stenting).

"We are saying that, after middle age, most everybody with diabetes is a candidate for statin treatment -- and at a large enough dose to give them a substantial reduction in LDL cholesterol," Baigent tells WebMD. "That is quite important, because the size of the benefit depends on the size of the cholesterol reduction."

The American Heart Association says it's best to have an LDL cholesterol level of less than 100 mg/dL -- and calls LDL cholesterol levels of 100 to 129 mg/dL "near optimal/above optimal."

Baigent and colleagues calculate that for every 39 mg/dL drop in LDL cholesterol, people with diabetes cut their risk of major heart events by one-fifth. An average dose of statins cuts LDL cholesterol by 57 mg/dL, which would lower this risk by one-third.

But not everyone with diabetes has the same heart risk, argues Bernard M.Y. Cheung, MDBChir, PhD, FRCP, professor of clinical pharmacology and therapeutics at the University of Birmingham, England.

Today on WebMD

Diabetic tools
Symptoms, diagnosis, treatment, and more.
woman flexing muscles
10 strength training exercises.
Blood sugar test
12 practical tips.
Tom Hanks
Stars living with type 1 or type 2.
kenneth fujioka, md
Can Vinegar Treat Diabetes
Middle aged person
Home Healthcare

Prediabetes How to Prevent Type 2 Diabetes
type 2 diabetes
food fitness planner