This treatment may benefit heart attack patients with diabetes

In a new study, researchers found regular injections of a cholesterol-cutting drug could benefit patients with diabetes who have had a recent heart attack.

The treatment could reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke in these patients.

The research was led by a team from Imperial College London.

High levels of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (so-called ‘bad’ cholesterol) in the blood are a big risk factor for heart disease.

But patients with diabetes can be at twice the risk of a heart attack or stroke due to damage to the heart and blood vessels.

It is estimated that one-third of heart attack patients have diabetes.

The new finding shows the injections reduce this risk by further lowering patients’ levels of LDL cholesterol.

In the study, the team examined almost 19,000 patients with a recent heart attack or unstable angina.

These people were already taking the highest doses of cholesterol-lowering medication statins.

The researchers found that patients taking an additional twice-monthly injection of another type of cholesterol-lowering drug, called alirocumab, could further lower their cholesterol levels and their risk of having another heart attack.

The team explains that alirocumab could provide more benefit to patients with diabetes, compared to those without diabetes, following a recent heart attack.

They hope the new finding could inform current guidelines for use of cholesterol-lowering medications and advocate more aggressive cholesterol reduction in people with diabetes after a heart attack.

These patients would benefit from achieving even lower cholesterol levels from this injectable treatment.

The lead author of the study is Professor Kausik Ray, Chair in Public Health (clinical) at Imperial College London.

The study is published in the journal Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology.

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