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Mayo Clinic study finds that after heart attack most patients stop taking life-saving drugs
Date:11/5/2007

ORLANDO, Fla. -- Recovery from heart attacks is best served by continuing to take prescribed medications. Yet more than half of patients who have had a heart attack stop taking these lifesaving medications within three years, according to results from a Mayo Clinic study presented today at the American Heart Associations Scientific Sessions 2007 in Orlando, Fla.

The Mayo data also show that in the short term, smokers are more likely to discontinue taking all of their prescribed heart medications, whereas in the long term, data show that patients enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation programs tend to continue their medications at a higher rate than patients who do not enroll. The researchers suggest their data support a two-pronged strategy for improving the publics heart health: 1) target heart patients who smoke for education on complying with physicians aftercare advice about continuing medications, and 2) encourage all heart patients to participate in a cardiac rehabilitation program, possibly increasing their likelihood of continuing prescribed treatments.

Significance of the Mayo Clinic Research

The study was designed to improve recovery and quality of life after heart attack by determining how well patients comply with physicians recommendations. It clearly documented that treatments exist that improve outcomes following heart attacks -- but patients need to comply with the treatment regimens for the goal of improved patient health to be realized, says Nilay Shah, Ph.D., the studys lead researcher.

By following patients at six, 12 and 36 months after a heart attack, the researchers discovered that smokers are most likely to stop taking their medication, placing them at increased risk for more heart attacks and complications, says Dr. Shah. This suggests that current smokers may be a target group for education acute heart attack. Participation in cardiac rehab programs seems to be another important factor associate
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Contact: Traci Klein
newsbureau@mayo.edu
507-284-5005
Mayo Clinic
Source:Eurekalert

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