Is cardiovascular risk reduction therapy effective in South Asian, Chinese and other patients with diabetes? A population-based cohort study from Canada

Calvin H. Ke, Steve Morgan, Kate Smolina, Danijela Gasevic, Hong Qian, Nadia A. Khan

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SETTING: Province of British Columbia, Canada (2006-2013).

PARTICIPANTS: Patients aged ≥35 years with incident diabetes.

PRIMARY AND SECONDARY OUTCOME MEASURES: Primary outcome was all-cause mortality for each medication class compared with untreated patients within each ethnicity. Treatment effect was assessed using inverse probability of treatment weighted Cox proportional hazards models. Medication adherence effect on mortality was also evaluated.

RESULTS: 208 870 patients (13 755 South Asian, 22 871 Chinese, 172 244 other Canadian) were included. ACEi reduced mortality in other patients (HR=0.88, 0.84-0.91), but power was insufficient to evaluate for benefit in Chinese and South Asian patients. ARB and diuretics reduced mortality in Chinese (ARB HR=0.64, 0.50-0.82; diuretics HR=0.77, 0.62-0.96) and other patients (ARB HR=0.69, 0.64-0.74; diuretics HR=0.66, 0.63-0.69) compared with untreated patients. No mortality benefit was observed among South Asians for any drug class or for CCB among all ethnicities. Higher medication adherence was associated with lower mortality for other patients only (HR=0.79, 0.72-0.86).

CONCLUSIONS: Effectiveness of cardiovascular risk reduction therapy on mortality varies considerably by ethnicity. Further study is needed to evaluate the mortality benefit of antihypertensive agents in South Asians. Inclusion of these ethnic groups in future clinical trials is essential to examine for differential responses.

OBJECTIVES: Guidelines recommend ACE inhibitors (ACEi), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), calcium channel blockers (CCBs) and diuretics in all patients with diabetes mellitus. However, the effectiveness of these agents in South Asian and Chinese populations is unknown. We sought to determine whether ACEi, ARB, CCB and diuretics are associated with reduced mortality in South Asian, Chinese and other patients with diabetes.

DESIGN: Population-based cohort study using administrative health databases.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e013808
Number of pages9
JournalBMJ Open
Publication statusPublished - 31 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • epidemiology
  • hypertension

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