GPs should closely monitor patients with diabetes after initiating statin treatment as the risk of discontinuation is around 70%, say researchers.
Dutch researchers conducted an observational study on 3,300 patients aged over 40 years who had at least one prescription for an oral diabetes treatment.
Discontinuation was classified as an interval of 180 days or more between the end of a prescription and the dispensing date of the next prescription, and this occurred more frequently in patients treated with statins, compared with oral diabetes drugs.
Discontinuation rates were 52% in those treated with statins, and only 15% in those treated with diabetes drugs.
Of those taking both drugs, 63% of statin users who started the therapy after oral diabetic treatments discontinued their statin therapy, compared with only 48% of those who took statins before they were prescribed oral diabetes drugs.
The authors concluded that this showed non-adherence with statin treatment was a ‘major problem’ in patients with diabetes, despite this group being at increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
Study lead Dr Egbert Lamberts, pharmacy researcher at the Utrecht Institute for Pharmaceutical Sciences, the Netherlands, said: ‘Because discontinuation rates were higher in the after-users group, active intervention, screening and sustained follow-up is especially recommended in this group of patients.’
Diabetes/Metabolism Research and Reviews 2012