ACCORD Study: Cholesterol, BP Control Does Little Good for Diabetics

A new study shows cholesterol and blood pressure control won't lower heart risk.

ByABC News
March 14, 2010, 2:17 PM

March 14, 2010— -- Research findings released today have dashed doctors' hopes that intensive blood pressure and blood fat management could drive down diabetics' higher risks of heart problems.

Results from the highly anticipated Action to Control Cardiovascular Risk in Diabetes (ACCORD) trial proved once again that when it comes to traditional measurements of heart disease risk, lower isn't always better.

Using a blood pressure target of 120 mm Hg rather than the general population standard of 140 did not reduce nonfatal heart attacks, nonfatal strokes or death from cardiovascular causes, reported Dr. William Cushman of the VA Medical Center in Memphis, Tenn.

Likewise, adding the cholesterol-busting drug fenofibrate to standard statin therapy did not reduce the chances of major adverse cardiovascular events, according to Dr. Henry Ginsberg of Columbia University in New York City.

Both studies, part of the complex ACCORD trial, were presented at the American College of Cardiology meeting in Atlanta, Ga. and released simultaneously online in the New England Journal of Medicine.

A third part of this research -- one which examined intensive lowering of blood sugar to see if this had a positive effect -- was prematurely halted in 2008 because it turned out that patients receiving this approach actually had an increased, instead of decreased, risk of death.

The new lipid and blood pressure results round out the negative portrait of aggressive risk factor management in diabetes patients, commented Dr. Brian O'Murchu of Temple University in Philadelphia, a co-chair of the ACC's annual scientific sessions planning committee.

In an interview with MedPage Today, O'Murchu echoed the concern voiced by diabetes experts at the initial presentation of the blood glucose arm results: Pushing too hard may not help, and it may actually hurt in some cases.

As for the newly released findings, the lipid arm of ACCORD included 5,518 patients with high risk of heart problems because of cardiovascular disease or at least two risk factors. LDL, or bad, cholesterol levels had to be between 60 and 180 mg/dL; HDL, or good cholesterol, levels had to be under 50 mg/dL or 55 mg/dL for women and blacks; and triglycerides had to be under 750 mg/dL if the patients were not on any therapy, or 400 mg/dL otherwise.