The team found that use of the ACE inhibitors and angiotensin receptor blockers increased from 34 percent in 1994 to 45 percent in 2002, but decreased to 32 percent by 2009.
With beta blockers, use went from 11 percent in 1998 to 44 percent in 2006, but dropped to 37 percent by 2009.
This suggests doctors may be getting tired of prescribing the same old drugs, which are available as generics, in favor of newer, more expensive ones, Banerjee said.
Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, director of the Ahmanson-UCLA Cardiomyopathy Center at the University of California, Los Angeles, said that "heart failure results in substantial mortality, morbidity and costs. It is thus essential that evidence-based, guideline-recommended therapies be provided to all heart failure patients who are eligible."
This study suggests that from 1994 to 2009, there has been very little improvement in the use of medical therapies demonstrated to improve outcomes in outpatients with heart failure and substantial opportunities to improve heart failure care, he explained.
"However, it is important to note the limitation that these heart failure medications are only demonstrated to benefit about 50 percent of heart failure patients, whereas the data reported in this study are all patients with heart failure," Fonarow said.
The results of a recent study suggest that new evidence-based approaches can result in substantial improvements in the use of drugs, such as ACE inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers, beta blockers, aldosterone antagonists and other therapies for heart failure, he said.
"Thus, an important and highly effective solution to the heart failure treatment gaps highlighted in this present study has been identified," Fonarow said.
For more information on stroke and heart disease, visit the American Heart Association.
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