Diabetic patients have increased mortality following myocardial infarction. We review the evidence for benefit in diabetic patients, of the major drug groups used as secondary prevention. Beta blockers: meta-analyses suggest a reduction in mortality of 35% with beta blockers. Diabetic patients should receive beta blockers post myocardial infarction. In many patients, the benefits of beta blockers will outweigh relative contraindications. Aspirin: meta-analyses of antiplatelet therapy in high-risk subjects have shown substantial benefits. Aspirin should be prescribed for secondary prevention. Lipid lowering with statins: subgroup analyses of the major secondary prevention trials show substantial benefits across a wide range of baseline cholesterol and LDL levels. These drugs should be prescribed as secondary prevention to patients with diabetes whose total cholesterol is > 4.0 mmol(-1). Angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs): the few subgroup analyses that exist from ACEI trials suggest that diabetic and non-diabetic patients derive similar benefits. Diabetic subjects who have systolic dysfunction after myocardial infarction should receive ACEIs. Treatment combination: data exist to suggest that most of these drugs produce benefit independently.
Conclusion: diabetic patients benefit from secondary prevention with drug treatment as much as, or more than, non-diabetic patients.