- About 30% of patients who have had heart attacks do not adhere to their medication regimens, according to a new study from Duke University.
- Researchers reviewed drug compliance records for heart attack patients treated at 216 hospitals between April 2010 and May 2012.
- Six weeks post-heart attack, 25% of the patients said they only took their prescribed medications occassionally, while another 4% said they only took them rarely.
In this study, which included a total of 7,425 patients, 2,150 of the patients admitted to being non-adherent to their prescribed medication regimens—despite the fact that non-adherence after a heart attack is associated with worse outcomes, including an increased risk of re-hospitalization or death. The main factors that contributed to non-adherence included not understanding the consequences of non-adherence, limited access to medications because of lack of funds, fear of side effects, and forgetfulness.
There is also another factor: The fact that during the post-heart attack period, there are many messages directed at patients, including messages about lifestyle modification. Sometimes, the need to be adherent to medication regimens can get lost in the mix.
The results of this study reflect a trend that goes beyond patients who have had heart attacks. In fact, an article in Medscape cites overall non-adherence rates in the 30% to 60% range, stating that patients who are completely asymptomatic are most likely to be nonadherent.
Results of this study can be found in the latest issue of Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.