Statins Repairing Nerve Damage

As a result of a recent scientific publication, a wide range of mainstream media reports came out to discuss whether statins could target diabetes related nerve damage. But how on point were these articles? In this entry we consider what the study actually said, and it’s implication for healthcare in the UK. You can read more about htis study here.

The study, which was published in The Lancet, was a prospective and observational study. The researchers used data from the Danish Registry of Medicinal Product Statistics for all diabetes patients over the age of 40. They sifted the sample so that it could be clear if patients had used statins before they were diagnosed with diabetes. They then compared the data from the regular statin users to the data from the non-statin users to see whether there would be a difference in the development of diabetic neuropathy, diabetic neuropathy or gangrene in the foot. All of the aforementioned are considered to be micro vascular diseases,

The key findings indicated that regular statin users had a lower incidence of both gangrene of the foot and diabetic retinopathy, whereas there appeared to be no difference for diabetic nephropathy. Essentially this demonstrates that patients that had been regular statin users had a 40 percent lower risk of developing sight problems and 34 percent lower risk of developing nerve damage. As part of the analysis, the researchers also ensured that their data had taken other factors into account such as visits to a family doctor and competing risk of death.

Based on the results, the researchers concluded that there was no relationship between the use of statins and an increased risk of developing micro vascular diseases. Having said that, they also stressed that there seemed to be a real possibility that statins could have a protective effect instead. However, the researchers urged for more detailed studies to substantiate these findings.

In the last year, both UK and US have provided medical guidelines that urge a wider use of statins in general health care. Whilst this has been well received in the US, the reports in UK have been mixed.

Based on what we know to date about statins, it is difficult not to see the value of the study or the use of statins in health care. It is our hope that future studies support findings to date and cement the role of statins for wider treatments that could affect millions of lives for the better.