In randomized clinical trials, involving 5,152 men and women from 66 to 96 years of age statin medications have been shown to reduce the risk of death in people with type 2 diabetes.
Vilmundur Gudnason, MD, PhD, of the University of Iceland, and colleagues wanted to see if statins had the same beneficial effect in observational studies on older people with type 2 diabetes.
They found that type 2 diabetes patients taking statin drugs had a 50 percent lower risk of dying from heart-related causes and a 53 percent lower risk of dying from all causes, compared to those not taking statins.
Among those without diabetes, statin use was associated with 16 percent lower risk of heart-related death and a 30 percent lower risk of death from all causes.
Diabetes patients who used statins had a similar risk of death as the general population without diabetes. In other words, statin use lowered the risk of death to normal levels, rather than the increased risk generally associated with diabetes.
According to the authors, this observational study adds to a body of evidence showing that statin use may be beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.
The results urgently call for other population-based studies with comparable information to confirm the effect of statin use on death risk in individuals with type 2 diabetes.
BMJ Open August 2012.