Patients with diabetes taking statins less likely to experience amputation

Patients with diabetes who took statins were less likely to experience a lower extremity amputation or treatment failure, according to a study published in the Journal of Vascular Surgery.

The study included 83, 953 patients younger than 65 years with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes who were treated in the US Department of Veterans Affairs healthcare system in 2003. The patients were followed for 5 years and cholesterol-lowering agents, diabetic medications, hemoglobin A1c, body mass index and systolic and diastolic blood pressures were observed. Major risk factors of lower extremity amputation, including peripheral neuropathy, peripheral artery disease and foot ulcers, were also noted.

The researchers found that 217 (0.3%) of patients experienced a major lower extremity amputation and 11,716 (14 %) experienced a lower extremity amputation or death. Statin users were 35% to 43% (HR=0.65; 95% CI, 0.42-0.99) less likely to experience a lower extremity amputation or treatment failure compared with non-statin users. The researchers also found that users of other cholesterol-lowering medications had a 41% lower risk of treatment failure (HR=0.59, 95% CI, 0.51-0.68), but they were not significantly different in amputation risk.

“This is the first study to report a significant association between statin use and diminished amputation risk among patients with diabetes,” the authors wrote in the study abstract. “In this nonrandomized cohort, beneficial effects of statin therapy were similar to that seen in large-scale clinical trial experience.”

For more information:

Sohn MW. J Vasc Surg. 2013. doi: 10.1016/j.jv.2013.06.069.

Disclosure: Sohn has no relevant financial disclosures.

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