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Medication Compliance Three Months After Stroke Is Poor

Nearly one in four discontinue at least one secondary prevention drug

TUESDAY, Aug. 10 (HealthDay News) -- Nearly one quarter of stroke patients discontinue at least one of their prescribed secondary prevention medications within three months after hospital discharge, leaving this group at higher risk of another stroke, according to research published online Aug. 9 in the Archives of Neurology.

Cheryl D. Bushnell, M.D., of Wake Forest University Health Sciences in Winston-Salem, N.C., and colleagues conducted an observational cohort study of longitudinal compliance with stroke-prevention medications following hospital discharge after a stroke. The study included 2,598 adult patients from 106 hospitals participating in the American Heart Association Get With The Guidelines-Stroke program.

The researchers found that, three months after discharge, 75.5 percent of patients continued to take all prescribed stroke-prevention medicines. Medication compliance at three months was associated with the following: having fewer medication classes prescribed, aspects of the medical history, older age, having insurance coverage, less severe residual stroke disability, increased quality of life, financial hardship, hospital size, and geographic factors. The authors concluded that the modifiable factors associated with longitudinal medication-regimen persistence could be potential targets for improving secondary stroke-prevention efforts.

"Regimen persistence of stroke-prevention medications was fair at 76 percent, although considering the setting, i.e., hospitals motivated to provide the best stroke care, this may be the 'best-case scenario,'" the authors write. "The assessment of and reasons for nonpersistence at three months post-stroke are important because the risk of recurrent stroke is greatest during this period."

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