In September, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved expanding the pool of people who can take the popular cholesterol drug Lipitor® to reduce the risk of stroke and heart attack to include people with diabetes who have risk factors for heart disease. The FDA also approved the use of Lipitor to reduce the chance of stroke in people without diabetes, but who have multiple other risk factors. People considered at higher risk for stroke include those who are 55 or older, smoke, are obese or have high cholesterol, high blood pressure, family history of stroke or diabetes.
According to Pfizer Inc., the manufacturer of Lipitor, a study of 2,800 patients with Type 2 diabetes, near normal cholesterol, and at least one other risk factor for stroke showed that patients on Lipitor suffered 50 percent fewer strokes than those taking a placebo. Another study of people with multiple risk factors for stroke found that Lipitor reduced the risk of stroke by 26 percent compared to those taking a placebo. Relief for Pain of Diabetic Neuropathy
Earlier this year, the FDA approved a drug that could help millions of people with chronic nerve pain, including the pain associated with diabetic neuropathy. The pain is sometimes described as sharp “pins and needles” in the feet, legs, hands or arms. Lyrica® (pregabalin), works by calming hyper-excitable nerve endings that cause the debilitating pain.
The drug’s Class 5 classification – the lowest classification for any controlled substance – puts it in the same category as some cough medicines containing codeine, but still requires a prescription. An estimated 62 percent of the 18 million Americans with diabetes will develop some form of diabetic neuropathy, and about 3 million will experience painful neuropathy in their extremities.
EVENTS Diabetes Roundtable Discussion Sponsored by Desert Diabetes Club November 16, 2 to 3 p.m. Annenberg Center for Health Sciences at Eisenhower Call 760-773-1578. Desert Diabetes Club Holiday Luncheon December 2, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Desert Willow Golf Resort 38995 Desert Willow Drive, Palm Desert $30; $50 for two. Call 760-773-1578 by November 18. A Day of Hope for Diabetes® March 18, 2006, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. www.emc.org/ddc