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Study backs statin treatment for all elderly diabetes patients

Statin treatment has relative and absolute benefits for patients with type 2 diabetes across age groups, a UK study concludes.

The researchers found older patients in particular gained substantial reductions in absolute risk of cardiovascular disease – large enough for all to merit treatment.

Their analysis of the major Cards trial found use of 10mg/ day atorvastatin reduced the relative risk of cardiovascular disease by 38 per cent in patients aged 65 to 75 and 37 per cent in younger patients.

The corresponding absolute risk reductions were 3.9 per cent and 2.7 per cent, with numbers needed to treat over four years of 21 and 33 respectively to prevent one cardiovascular event.

There were also apparent reductions in all-cause mortality – of 22 per cent and 37 per cent respectively – although these did not reach statistical significance.

Study leader Professor Andrew Neil, professor of clinical epidemiology at the University of Oxford, said: 'Absolute and relative benefits of statin therapy in older patients with type 2 diabetes are substantial, and all patients warrant treatment unless specifically contraindicated.'

The study, published this month in Diabetes Care, compar-ed the efficacy of atorvastatin in 1,129 patients aged 65 to 75 and 1,709 younger patients, aged 40 or older.

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