Now, researchers have found a new way to reduce the risk of a second stroke in patients with type 2 diabetes.
The cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor (atorvastatin) reduced the risk of stroke, major heart problems, and revascularization (a surgery to increase blood flow) in patients with type 2 diabetes. Moreover, people without diabetes had the same benefit from Lipitor as those with diabetes.
"Cholesterol drugs may lower diabetics' risk of a second stroke."
Alfred Callahan, M.D., from Vanderbilt University, and colleagues wanted to see if Lipitor lowered the risk of stroke and other heart problems in people with type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome (the group of risk factors that increase risk for diabetes).
When patients with diabetes or metabolic syndrome took Lipitor, their risk of stroke and heart problems was lowered. However, Lipitor also lowered the risk in patients without diabetes or metabolic syndrome.
The researchers studied a group of 794 people with type 2 diabetes, 642 with metabolic syndrome, and 3,295 without either problem. They found that diabetes increased the risk of stroke by 62 percent in people who had another stroke in the past. These patients had a 66 percent higher risk of heart-related problems and more than twice the risk for needing revascularization procedure.
These results suggest that Lipitor is be an effective treatment for all patients, not just those with diabetes.