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Adherence to standard-dose or low-dose statin treatment and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol response in type 2 diabetes patients

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journal contribution
posted on 2015-11-25, 12:20 authored by F.M. de Vries, J. Voorham, E. Hak, P. Denig


To determine the association between adherence, dose and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol response in patients with type 2 diabetes initiating statin treatment.

Research design and methods:

This cohort study was performed using data for 2007–2012 from the Groningen Initiative to Analyse Type 2 Diabetes Treatment (GIANTT) database. The association between adherence to a standard-dose statin and LDL cholesterol response was assessed using linear regression, adjusting for covariates. The effect of low-dose versus standard-dose was assessed in a propensity-score matched cohort. Adherence rates, defined as the proportion of days covered (PDC), were estimated between statin initiation and LDL outcome measurement.

Main outcome measure:

LDL cholesterol level at follow-up.


The effect of adherence on LDL cholesterol response, measured in 2160 patients, was dependent on the baseline LDL cholesterol level. For patients with a baseline LDL cholesterol of 3.7 mmol/l and an adherence rate of 80%, a 40% reduction in LDL cholesterol was predicted. In the matched sample of 1144 patients, the treatment dose showed a difference in impact on the outcome for adherence rates higher than 50%. It was estimated that a patient with a baseline LDL cholesterol of 3.7 mmol/l will need an adherence rate of at least 76% on low-dose and 63% on standard-dose treatment to reach the LDL cholesterol target of 2.5 mmol/l.


Adherence was measured as the PDC, which is known to overestimate actual adherence. Also, we were not able to adjust for lifestyle factors.


We determined the concurrent effect of treatment adherence and dose on LDL cholesterol outcomes. Given the adherence levels seen in clinical practice, diabetes patients initiating statin treatment are at high risk of not reaching the recommended cholesterol target, especially when they start on a low-dose statin.