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The cholesterol-lowering drug atorvastatin (Lipitor) offers significant benefits guarding against heart attacks and strokes among patients with diabetes. The Collaborative Atorvastatin Diabetes Study (CARDS) is the largest study of statin use in patients with diabetes, involving more than 2800 patients with type 2 diabetes, no history of heart disease, and relatively low levels of cholesterol.
Among those patients taking atorvastatin, there was a 37% reduction in major cardiovascular events, and 48% fewer patients taking atorvastatin experienced strokes, compared with those taking placebo. In fact, atorvastatin proved so effective that the study was stopped 2 years early. This was the second time a study of atorvastatin was stopped early because of significant cardiovascular benefits. The number of cases of type 2 diabetes is increasing at an epidemic level, which researchers attribute to genetics, obesity, and lack of exercise.