Type 2 diabetes patients may be wasting billions of dollars on unnecessary medication. Three doctors who recently evaluated the effectiveness of commonly prescribed fibrates in diabetes patients with high cholesterol have said that the drugs have not been proven effective. The doctors, who conducted the research for the FDA, reported their findings in a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Diabetics are at high risk of cardiovascular disease, and fibrates are commonly prescribed along with statins and diabetes medication to lower the risk of heart attacks. The statins and fibrates were thought to work in combination to lower “bad” LDL cholesterol and raise “good” HDL cholesterol levels.
But, although fibrates such as Tricor (fenofibrate), Lopid (gemfibrozil) and Trilipix (fenofibric acid) are routinely prescribed to diabetics, there have been few studies assessing their effectiveness. “Thousands and thousands of Americans take fibrates every day,” said one of the commentary’s authors, Dr Sanjay Kaul from the Cedars-Sanai Heart Institute, “But so far there are no long-term studies showing that fibrates lower cardiovascular risk or improve survival among diabetes patients who are also on statins.”
The commentary authors are calling for more studies, and recommending doctors only prescribe fibrates along with statins to diabetics at high risk of heart attack, and only after they have achieved healthy LDL levels.
While no diabetic should adjust their diabetes medication without consulting their physician, many type 2 diabetics may be able to lower the cost of their diabetes medicine without affecting their diabetes control based on this new recommendation.