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1 in 4 stroke patients stop taking prevention medication within 3 months
Date:8/11/2010

WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2010 At least a quarter of patients who have suffered a stroke stop taking one or more of their prescribed stroke prevention medications within the first three months after being hospitalized when the chance of having another stroke is highest according to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center and colleagues.

Each year, there are an estimated 180,000 recurrent strokes in the United States. The study identified several modifiable factors that are associated with stroke survivors' compliance in taking medication that can help prevent recurrent stroke. Researchers hope those factors will prove effective targets for improving compliance.

The paper appears online this week in the Archives of Neurology, one of the JAMA/Archives journals, and is scheduled to appear in the journal's December print issue.

"There is very little known about how stroke patients feel about their medications and all of the complicated reasons that people may or may not stay on those medications," said Cheryl D. Bushnell, M.D., M.H.S., an associate professor of neurology at Wake Forest Baptist and lead author on the study. "Physicians can prescribe all of the right medications, but if patients don't take them, they're not receiving the benefits of prevention."

So, Bushnell and colleagues, including researchers at Duke Clinical Research Institute, designed a study similar to those done to investigate medication compliance in patients with coronary artery disease. They looked at compliance issues from the patients' perspective, as well as system and provider issues, such as what type of doctor the patients saw, what kind of follow-up care they had and the patients' understanding of their medications and why they were taking them.

The researchers studied 2,598 patients from the Adherence Evaluation After Ischemic StrokeLongitudinal (AVAIL) Registry to evaluate h
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Contact: Jessica Guenzel
jguenzel@wfubmc.edu
336-716-3487
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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