LONDON, September 7 /PRNewswire/ --

One in four patients with diabetes are not receiving the appropriate cardiovascular medications, research launched at the British Pharmaceutical Conference (BPC) in Manchester has shown.

Diabetes and its complications are responsible for an estimated one in 17 deaths in the UK(1). Cardiovascular complications such as heart disease and stroke are major causes of mortality and morbidity among diabetics.

Diabetes (types 1 and 2) patients aged over 40 should be taking medications that prevent the formation of blood clots (antiplatelets, such as aspirin), or that reduce blood cholesterol levels (statins), in order to reduce their risk of cardiovascular complications. The National Service Framework for Diabetes recommends early and intensive preventative treatment in all patients with diabetes to prevent cardiovascular complications developing(2).

Pharmacy researchers who undertook an audit to assess the use of antiplatelets and statins in patients with diabetes at a general medical practice in North East England found a quarter of these patients who should be, were not on the treatment.

Head researcher Wasim Baqir said: "This primary care project shows that despite their high cardiovascular risk, one in four patients with diabetes are not being treated with prophylactic aspirin and/or statins - medicines that could prevent their death from complications of their disease."

"This study has already led to a change in the medication regimes for 22 patients -highlighting the importance of the role that pharmacists play in medicines management. They are the experts in medicines and make a significant contribution to patient safety."

Notes to Editors:

About Diabetes

Diabetes is a condition in which the amount of glucose (sugar) in the blood is too high. Insulin is a vital hormone produced by the pancreas that helps glucose to enter the cells where it is used as fuel by the body.

There are two main types of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is less common (5 - 15% of all people with diabetes) and develops if the body is unable to produce any insulin. It usually appears before the age of 40.

Type 2 diabetes develops when the body can still make some insulin, but not enough, or when the insulin that is produced does not work properly (known as insulin resistance). In most cases this is linked with being overweight. This type of diabetes usually appears in people over the age of 40, however, recently, more children are being diagnosed with the condition. Type 2 accounts for between 85 - 95% of all people with diabetes.

There are currently over 2.3 million people with diabetes in the UK and there are more than half a million people with diabetes who have the condition, but are not aware of it.

Diabetes is the leading cause of blindness in people of working age in the UK. It affects infants, children, young people and adults of all ages, and is becoming more common. There are an estimated 2.35 million people with diabetes in England. This is predicted to grow to more than 2.5 million by 2010 - 9% of which will be due to an increase in obesity. Life expectancy is reduced by at least fifteen years for someone with Type 1 diabetes. In Type 2 diabetes, which is preventable in two thirds of people who have it, life expectancy is reduced by up to 10 years. It is estimated that around 90% of people with diabetes have type 2 diabetes. ( ).

About the British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 (BPC)

BPC 2008: Pharmacy in the 21st Century: Adding years to life and life to years. In 2008, as the NHS marks its 60th anniversary year, BPC will examine how pharmacy and the pharmaceutical services are helping to add years to life and life to the year of the UK population. The profession of pharmacy plays an important role in meeting the healthcare challenges associated with the UK's ageing population.

How can pharmacists contribute to caring for the population as well as ensuring quality of life? Increasingly, scientists and practitioners have to consider the cost implications of this conundrum, and the evidence base for all interventions is becoming of paramount importance: BPC 2008 will debate these issues and open up discussion on them.


The main sponsors of BPC 2008 are: Boots The Chemists (Lead Sponsor), AstraZeneca (Associate Sponsor and BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor), Pharmacists' Defence Association (PDA) (Associate Sponsor) and GSK (BPC-PJ Careers Forum Platinum Sponsor).

Research released at BPC is published in the International Journal of Pharmacy Practice (IJPP).


1. Murray CJL, Lopez AD. The Global Burden of Disease. Geneva, World Health Organisation. Harvard School of Public Health 1996.

2. National Service Framework Diabetes: Last accessed 1/3/2008.

For media enquiries please contact: The British Pharmaceutical Conference 2008 Press Office (September 7, 8, and 9 only): Tel: +44(0)161-827-8765, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8766, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8767, Tel: +44(0)161-827-8768, Fax: +44(0)161-839-9311, Mobile: Tel: +44(0)7792-109-834, Tel: +44(0)7739-533-658; Or: The Royal Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain's Public Relations Unit: +44(0)20-7572-2335.