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Aggressive Treatments Don't Help Diabetes Patients

Heart Risk Isn't Cut for Diabetes Patients Who Aggressively Lower Blood Pressure, Blood Fats

Lowering Blood Pressure Still Important

"I'm not surprised that [TriCor] did not benefit all diabetics," says Paul D. Thompson, MD, chief of cardiology at Hartford Hospital, Conn. He was not involved with the study.

"I think of it as a drug for increasing HDL and lowering triglycerides," he says, and such patients would be expected to continue to benefit.

The findings point to the need for individualized therapy, agrees Clyde Yancy, MD, a cardiologist at Baylor University in Dallas who is president of the American Heart Association.

Overall, patients in all the groups faced about a 2% risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or dying of cardiovascular disease a year -- regardless of whether they got intensive or standard blood-pressure lowering or a fibrate plus statin or a statin alone, he notes.

That's "better than expected [for high-risk diabetes patients]," Yancy says.

So what should people with diabetes do? Focus on maintaining a healthy weight, eating right, exercising, and taking other lifestyle steps proven to reduce heart risks, he says.

W. Douglas Weaver, MD, of the Henry Ford Health System in Detroit and a past American College of Cardiology president, stresses that the findings do not negate the need to keep blood pressure and blood fats under control.

"Nature says high blood pressure is not good," he says.

And never stop taking medication without checking with your doctors, the experts say.

Abbott, which makes TriCor, released a statement that the findings "support the appropriate patient type and current treatment guidelines for fibrates. The top-line results of the study were widely expected, given that two-thirds of patients in the trial would not be recommended for fibrate therapy under current guidelines."

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