Statins Too Often Not Taken as Directed To Prevent a Second Heart Attack

Use of statins to prevent the recurrence of a heart attack after the first such incidence is a generally accepted practice guideline, but its effectiveness is muted because of nonadherence, according to a study in JAMA Cardiology. Researchers with the Icahn School of Medicine at Mt. Sinai looked at data on nearly 30,000 Medicare patients who had a prescription for either Lipitor or Crestor between 2007 through 2012. The patients, ages 66 to 75, had been hospitalized for a heart attack.

Most of the patients (58.9%) stuck with the regimen for six months. But two years out, only 41.6% of patients took the medications as directed, and many patients were taking lower doses than they should have been taking. Meanwhile, about 1 in 5 had stopped taking the drugs entirely. Not taking the statins as directed means greater risk of another heart attack, unstable angina, and stroke.

The study concludes: “Many patients filling high-intensity statins following a myocardial infarction do not continue taking this medication with high adherence for two years post-discharge. Interventions are needed to increase high-intensity statin use and adherence after myocardial infarction.”

Source: JAMA Cardiology

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