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

ow many stroke patients continued taking their prescribed medications to prevent a second stroke three months after their discharge from the hospital. The chance of a second stroke, the authors noted, is greatest during the first three months after the initial attack.

The authors found that about 75 percent of those studied had continued with their full regimen of medications usually including an aspirin or other type of blood thinner, blood pressure medication and cholesterol lowering medication three months after discharge. But they also found that nearly 20 percent of patients had stopped taking one or more of their prescribed medications, while 3.5 percent of patients weren't taking any of their medications at three months.

"This is actually much better than what we would expect based on our clinical experience," Bushnell said. "It's surprising at how high the compliance rate was. As physicians, we often see a lot more patients stopping their medicine on their own or having it stopped by a physician, so we think this may have been a best-case scenario, but it's still concerning. That's a lot of people at high risk of having a second stroke who are not doing everything they can to prevent it." Bushnell explained that the participating hospitals were all involved in quality improvement activities for stroke care, so they were highly motivated to have good stroke outcomes. It is possible that the patients at these hospitals were seen for their follow-up appointments by the same doctor who prescribed the medications at discharge, unlike many hospitals where follow-up care is handled by the patient's normal doctor.

Researchers learned from the study that multiple factors were associated with persistence in continuing secondary medication regimens, including the presence of cardiovascular disease and risk factors prior to stroke, having insurance, having a better quality of life, being prescribed fewer discharge medications and having a
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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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