One in Seven with Stent Prematurely Stop Medication

Those who discontinued antiplatelet drugs had ninefold increased risk of death

MONDAY, June 12 (HealthDay News) -- Almost one of every seven myocardial infarction patients prematurely discontinues thienopyridine therapy after receiving a drug-eluting stent (DES), increasing their risk of death ninefold, according to a study published in the June 20 issue of Circulation: Journal of the American Heart Association.

John A. Spertus, M.D., M.P.H., of the Mid America Heart Institute in Kansas City, Mo., and colleagues analyzed data from 19 centers covering 500 myocardial infarction patients who had been discharged after receiving a DES and prescribed thienopyridine therapy. Of these, 68 (13.6 percent) discontinued use of the drugs within 30 days.

Patients who prematurely discontinued medication were less likely to have been given instructions about their medications at discharge or a cardiac rehabilitation referral. They were also less likely to be married, to have completed high school, were older, more likely to avoid health care due to concerns about cost and more likely to have pre-existing cardiovascular conditions or anemia.

The risk of death in the 11 months after discharge for these patients was nine times higher than for those who continued their medication, and they were 1.5 times more likely to be rehospitalized.

"Strategies to improve the use of thienopyridines are needed to optimize the outcomes of myocardial infarction patients treated with DES," the authors conclude.

The study was supported by a grant from CV Therapeutics, a company that develops therapeutics for cardiovascular disease.

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