Diabetes :: Drug combo works well for diabetes and high lipids

For people with diabetes who also have abnormal levels of blood fats, or lipids, the combination of two types of cholesterol-lowering drugs seems to work better than either one alone, researchers report.

People with diabetes typically tend to have mixed lipid abnormalities, such as high cholesterol and high triglycerides. “Much of the cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes may stem from the associated abnormal ‘diabetic’ lipid profile, Dr. Joseph B. Muhlestein told Reuters Health.

This profile, which is characterized by a combination of abnormal lipid parameters, cannot often be rectified by just one drug,” he explained.

Muhlestein, at the LDS Hospital in Salt Lake City, Utah, and his colleagues therefore looked at using a combination of simvastatin (better known as Zocor) and fenofibrate (Tricor is one example) for such patients.

As described in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the team randomly allocated 300 patients with type 2 diabetes and mixed lipid abnormalities but no history of heart disease, to daily treatment with simvastatin, fenofibrate, or to both of these agents.

After 12 weeks, the researchers found that combination therapy was superior to fenofibrate alone in reducing total cholesterol and LDL (“bad”) cholesterol. Compared to simvastatin alone, it was superior in reducing triglyceride levels.

“Like in patients with high blood pressure, a multi-drug therapy approach may be necessary,” Muhlestein concluded. He said the study shows that “the combination of a statin and a fibrate is safe and more effective than monotherapy in improving the … lipid profile of diabetic patients.”

SOURCE: Journal of the American College of Cardiology, July 18, 2006.

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