Clinical use and effectiveness of lipid lowering therapies in diabetes mellitus--an observational study from the Swedish National Diabetes Register

PLoS One. 2011 Apr 29;6(4):e18744. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0018744.


Objectives: To describe the use and evaluate the effectiveness of different lipid lowering therapies in unselected patients with type 1 and type 2 diabetes in clinical practice.

Design: Observational population-based study using the personal identification number to link information from the National Diabetes Register, the Prescribed Drug Register and the Patient register in Sweden. All patients in the NDR aged 18-75 years with diabetes more than one year were eligible, but only patients starting any lipid lowering treatment with at least three prescriptions 1 July 2006-30 June 2007 were included (n = 37,182). The mean blood lipid levels in 2008 and reductions in LDL cholesterol were examined.

Results: Blood lipid levels were similar in patients treated with simvastatin, atorvastatin and rosuvastatin, showing similar lipid lowering effect as currently used. Users of pravastatin, fluvastatin, ezetimib and fibrate more seldom reach treatment goals. Moderate daily doses of the statins were used, with 76% of simvastatin users taking 20 mg or less, 48% of atorvastatin users taking 10 mg, 55% of pravastatin users taking 20 mg, and 76% of rosuvastatin users taking 5 or 10 mg.

Conclusions: This observational study shows that the LDL-C levels in patients taking simvastatin, atorvastatin or rosuvastatin are very similar as currently used, as well as their LDL-C lowering abilities. There is potential to intensify lipid lowering treatment to reduce the remaining high residual risk and achieve better fulfilment of treatment goals, since the commonly used doses are only low to moderate.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Atorvastatin
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 1 / drug therapy*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / drug therapy*
  • Female
  • Fluorobenzenes / therapeutic use*
  • Heptanoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Statistical
  • Pyrimidines / therapeutic use*
  • Pyrroles / therapeutic use*
  • Registries
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium
  • Simvastatin / therapeutic use*
  • Sulfonamides / therapeutic use*
  • Sweden
  • Treatment Outcome


  • Fluorobenzenes
  • Heptanoic Acids
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Pyrimidines
  • Pyrroles
  • Sulfonamides
  • Rosuvastatin Calcium
  • Atorvastatin
  • Simvastatin