Medication Adherence Suboptimal in Heart Patients

Nearly 50% of patients don't consistently take potentially life-extending medications, study finds

MONDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly half of coronary artery disease (CAD) patients don't consistently take beta-blockers, cholesterol-lowering drugs or other potentially life-extending medications, according to a study in the Jan. 17 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

L. Kristin Newby, M.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data from the Duke Databank for Cardiovascular Disease to determine the prevalence and consistency of self-reported use of aspirin, beta-blockers, lipid-lowering agents and their combinations in all CAD patients. They also analyzed use of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEIs) in those with and without heart failure.

The researchers found that by 2002, annual use was 83% for aspirin, 61% for beta-blockers, 63% for lipid-lowering therapy, 54% for aspirin and beta-blocker use, and 39% for all three. However, consistent use was lower: 71% for aspirin, 46% for beta-blockers, 44% for lipid-lowering therapy, 36% for aspirin and beta-blockers, and 21% for all three. Among patients without heart failure, ACEI use was 39% and consistent use was 20%. In heart failure patients, ACEI use was 51% and consistent use was 39%.

"Use of evidence-based therapies for CAD has improved but remains suboptimal," the authors conclude. "Considerable attention must also be focused on understanding and improving long-term adherence."

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