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Death Rate For Diabetes Drops With Effective Drug Therapy

Researchers say more effective control of blood fats, blood sugar, and blood pressure have contributed to recent declines in early mortality in people with type 2 diabetes.

Dr. Martin Gulliford and colleagues at King’s College, London examined data on more than 48,000 people diagnosed with type 2 diabetes between 1996 and 2006.

Deaths due to any cause in women within 2 years of diabetes diagnosis fell from 37.4 deaths per 1,000 persons per year in 1996 to 27.6 deaths per 1,000 persons per year in 2005. In men, the reduction was from 47.9 to 25.2 deaths per 1,000 persons per year.

Prescriptions for cholesterol-lowering statins in women within 12 months of diagnosis rose from 4.9 percent in 1996 to 63.5 percent in 2005. For men, the corresponding proportions were 5.1 percent and 71.0 percent.

Prescriptions of drugs certain blood pressure medications also rose over the study period, as did prescriptions for anti-diabetes medications.

After adjusting for age and co-existing illnesses, the researchers found prescriptions for statins and blood pressure drugs, before or after diagnosis, and prescriptions for the anti-diabetes drug metformin after diagnosis, were associated with lower death rates.

"Widespread implementation of preventive medical care both before and after the time of diagnosis may be contributing to the improving prognosis of type 2 diabetes," the team concludes."

Diabetes Care September 2008.