Bushnell also explained that many times, patients aren't discontinuing their medications on their own, but rather their doctors may be discontinuing them.
"I think that a lot of patients will tell their doctors that the medication doesn't agree with them or they can't take it for some other reason and the doctor takes them off of it," Bushnell said. "Many doctors try to limit the number of medications a patient has to take, especially when a lot of the same medicines can be used to treat both stroke and coronary disease."
In fact, patients who had a diagnosis of coronary disease or some other chronic disease before their stroke and were accustomed to taking daily medications to treat that condition were more likely to continue taking their new medications after stroke, the study showed.
"Patients who are taken off-guard by a stroke, and are given a lot of new medications and a new diagnosis, can get a little overwhelmed and the result can be discontinuation of one or more medications," she said. "But we learned that patients who actually understand why they are being prescribed each new medication and how to go about refilling their prescriptions are more compliant. This is a really important teaching moment. We, as doctors, need to make sure we are giving patients more specific information upon discharge. We need to explain things in more detail, such as, 'This blood pressure medication we're asking you to take isn't just for lowering your blood pressure, it's for preventing another stroke.'
"This study has really changed the way I interact with my patients," Bushnell added. "I've started asking the sometimes uncomfortable questions about whether they can afford their medications and
|Contact: Jessica Guenzel|
Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center