Management of hypercholesterolaemia in the patient with diabetes.Int J Clin Pract Suppl. 2002 JulIJ
Coronary heart disease (CHD) is the leading cause of death in patients with type 2 diabetes. The hyperglycaemia that characterises this disease is often accompanied by a cluster of other risk factors, such as dyslipidaemia and hypertension, and effective management of the patient with diabetes requires treatment directed at correcting all of the abnormalities that increase cardiovascular risk. Approximately 90% of patients with diabetes have type 2 disease, and dyslipidaemia in these patients is characterised by elevated plasma triglycerides and very-low-density lipoproteins (VLDL), by reduced high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C), and by a shift in LDL distribution towards small, dense particles. All of these lipid abnormalities are important risk factors for CHD. Retrospective subgroup analysis and prospective studies have shown that lipid-lowering therapy can slow the progression of atherosclerosis and reduce the risk for cardiovascular events in patients with diabetes, and both the National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III and American Diabetes Association have established aggressive treatment goals for lipid-lowering therapy in these patients. All of the major medications used to treat hyperlipidaemia in other populations (niacin, fibrates, bile acid sequestrants and statins) have been used effectively to improve the plasma lipid profile in patients with diabetes. Statins are generally accepted as first-line treatment for these patients, although fibrates also have an important role in patients with pronounced hypertriglyceridaemia. Statins significantly reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) in a broad range of patients. These agents also have substantial effects on plasma triglycerides and, in patients with hypertriglyceridaemia, lower very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (VLDL-C) to approximately the same extent as LDL-C. In this regard, the new agent rosuvastatin has been shown, in recent trials, to produce greater decreases in these lipoproteins than currently marketed compounds. Aggressive use of agents that attack the lipid abnormalities characteristic of patients with type 2 diabetes has the potential to significantly reduce CHD risk in these individuals.