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Younger Adults Increasingly Treated for Heart Disease-related Conditions
Date:10/30/2007

Increase in use of cholesterol and hypertension medications largest among

people ages 20 to 44 Drop in the age of women using heart disease medications greater than men

FRANKLIN LAKES, N.J., Oct. 30 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Heart disease, high blood pressure and hardening of the arteries - conditions that are usually associated with the senior population - are creeping into young adulthood. According to new research conducted by Medco Health Solutions, Inc. (NYSE: MHS), prescription drug use by younger adults for heart disease- related conditions is increasing at a rapid rate, far outpacing older adults and offering a glimpse into the forthcoming clinical and financial challenges facing the nation's health care system.

The analysis shows that between 2001 and 2006, the number of 20-44 year olds taking prescription medications to treat high cholesterol increased 68 percent, and use of antihypertensives jumped 21 percent.

Based on this new analysis, the estimated number of 20-44 year olds nationwide on lipid-lowering drugs surged from 2.5 million in 2001 to 4.2 million in 2006, while the number of people of that age taking antihypertensives spiked from 7 million to 8.5 million in the six-year period.

"This may be both a good news, bad news story," said Dr. Robert Epstein, Medco's chief medical officer. "The good news is that younger patients are taking medications that control conditions that, if left untreated, could lead to heart attacks and strokes - indicating that physicians are screening patients more regularly and treating these precursors more aggressively than in the past. The bad news is that these conditions are showing up in patients at younger ages, which
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SOURCE Medco Health Solutions, Inc.
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