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Many Stroke Patients Stop Taking Meds, Study Shows
Date:8/10/2010

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Aug. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Many stroke patients stop taking their medications while many heart failure patients are never prescribed recommended medications in the first place, new research shows.

In one report, researchers found that 25 percent of stroke patients stopped taking one or more of their stroke prevention medications within three months after their stroke.

"Providers should spend more time teaching stroke patients and caregivers when new risk factors are diagnosed and new medications are prescribed, such as blood pressure or cholesterol medications prior to discharge, while keeping the regimen as streamlined as possible," said lead researcher Dr. Cheryl D. Bushnell, an associate professor of neurology and associate director of the Women's Health Center of Excellence at Wake Forest University Health Sciences.

In addition, those patients with more severe disability and those without insurance are at risk of not continuing medications, she said.

"Most importantly, these results show that some patients require more teaching regarding their medications, including why a medication is prescribed and how to refill it," Bushnell said. "Hopefully, we as providers can improve patients' medication compliance through better communication and by being aware of the factors associated with medication discontinuation."

The report is published in the Aug. 9 online edition of the Archives of Neurology.

For the study, Bushnell and colleagues collected data on 2,598 patients who had been seen in 106 U.S. hospitals with a stroke or a transient ischemic attack (TIA).

Among these patients, 75.5 percent consistently took all the medications prescribed by their doctor.

However, 20 percent of patients were only taking at least half of their medications, and 3.5 percent weren't taking any of their medications three months after their stoke, the
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