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Adherence to Medication Linked to Lower CHF Deaths

Positive effect seen even in those taking placebo

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MONDAY, Dec. 12 (HealthDay News) -- Adherence to medication more than 80% of the time is associated with better outcomes for patients under treatment for chronic heart failure (CHF), and the results are the same whether the medication is the angiotensin receptor blocker candesartan or a placebo, according to a study in the Dec. 10 issue of The Lancet.

Bradi B. Granger, Ph.D., of Duke University Medical Center in Durham, N.C., and colleagues analyzed data from the Candesartan in Heart Failure: Assessment of Reduction in Mortality and Morbidity (CHARM) trial. In the double-blind, controlled clinical trial, 7,599 CHF patients were randomly assigned to receive either candesartan or placebo. Those who adhered to the medication regimen 80% or more of the time were defined as those who practiced good adherence.

Patients who had good medication adherence were 35% less likely to die than those who adhered poorly. The effect was almost identical for the candesartan and placebo groups -- a hazard ratio of 66% and 64%, respectively.

"The finding that adherence to even placebo was strongly related to outcome suggests that adherent behavior itself is associated with outcome," the authors conclude. "Since CHF is a major cause of death and disability, the need to improve adherence to effective treatments is obvious."

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