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Heart Attack Patients With Kidney Problems Often Skip Meds

Strategies needed to boost heart drug adherence in this high-risk group, researcher says

FRIDAY, Jan. 14, 2011 (HealthDay News) -- Among older adults who've recently had a heart attack, those with kidney dysfunction are less likely to take medications meant to prevent another heart attack, a new study has found.

Stanford University and Harvard Medical School researchers and colleagues analyzed the pharmacy insurance claims of 2,103 patients aged 65 and older who recently had a heart attack and were prescribed three major classes of heart medications: statins, beta-blockers and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors/angiotensin-receptor blockers (ACEIs/ARBs).

Over three years, the patients took their prescribed heart drugs only 50 to 60 percent of the time. Adherence to ACEIs/ARBs and beta-blocker regimens was significantly lower among patients who had lower levels of kidney function at the start of the study. There was no significant association between kidney function and adherence to statin drugs, the investigators found.

The study is scheduled for publication in an upcoming issue of the Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology.

"Since poor medication adherence increases the risk of hospitalization and death, it is important to understand the scope of the problem," study author Dr. Wolfgang C. Winkelmayer, of the Stanford University School of Medicine, said in a journal news release.

"Future strategies to improve medication adherence and clinical outcomes will need to pay special attention to this high-risk population," he added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians outlines the process of recovering from a heart attack.

SOURCE: Clinical Journal of the American Society of Nephrology, news release, Jan. 10, 2011
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