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Many Patients Fail to Take Drugs After Heart Attack
Date:2/25/2008

One in five prescriptions were never filled after hospital discharge, study found

MONDAY, Feb. 25 (HealthDay News) -- A quarter of the people who survive heart attacks don't take the drugs prescribed for them after they leave the hospital, a new study finds.

That failure to adhere to medication increases the patient's risk of dying in the next year, Canadian researchers say.

"About one in five of all prescriptions weren't filled after the patients left the hospital," noted study lead author Cynthia A. Jackevicius, a pharmacist at the Institute for Clinical Evaluative Sciences in Toronto. Her team published its findings in the Feb. 26 issue of Circulation.

Patients who filled none of their prescriptions had an 80 percent higher risk of dying in the year after a heart attack compared to those who filled all of them, Jackevicius said. And even for those who filled some, but not all, of their prescriptions, the one-year death risk was 44 percent higher than for those who adhered to all their medications, the team found.

The study looked at the records of almost 4,600 residents of the province of Ontario aged 65 or older who had experienced heart attacks. In total, they took almost 13,000 prescriptions home with them upon discharge from the hospital.

Twenty-seven percent of those prescriptions had still not been filled seven days after hospital discharge, and 21 percent were still open 120 days later, the study found.

People were much more likely to fill prescription for heart-related drugs such as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and statins, the study found, compared to other types of drugs. In general more than 80 percent of those prescriptions were filled. But at best, only a third of non-cardiac drug prescriptions were filled.

Cost of the medications was not a major issue in this study, Jackevicius said, since those in the study were covered by a health program spons
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