52% of heart stent patients fail to take their prescribed medication

For patients with acute coronary syndrome who undergo surgery to receive a heart stent, taking oral antiplatelet medications can be a lifesaver, yet more than half of these patients don't adhere to their therapy as prescribed, according to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll.

Harris Poll conducted the survey online from Feb. 13 to April 10, 2014, collecting responses from more than 300 American adults between the ages of 35 to 74 who underwent an angioplasty procedure with or without a stent within a year of participating in the survey and were prescribed an OAP medication.

Highlight below are three findings from the survey.

  • Out of 275 ACS patients who were currently taking an OAP, 52 percent reported they have missed taking or changed the way they take their prescribed OAP therapy.
  • Of the respondents currently taking OAP medications, those under 65 years old (194 participants) were much more likely to not follow their prescribed OAP therapy regimen than older respondents, despite being more concerned about their health.
  • All total, 12 percent of the survey respondents said they do not recall being informed by their healthcare professionals that they faced serious health risks if they did not adhere to their OAP therapy.

Jeffrey Cavendish, MD, lead interventional cardiologist for Kaiser Permanente San Diego and director of the cardiac catheterization laboratory at the Scripps Prebys Cardiovascular Institute in La Jolla, Calif., describes the risks patients face, not the least of which is hospitalization.

"For people who have recently received a heart stent for ACS, changing, skipping or discontinuing OAP therapy increases the risk of serious heart problems or even death," said Dr. Cavendish.

Lola Coke, PhD, an associate professor of nursing and cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago and a member of the board of directors of the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, suggests many patients may stop taking their medication because they mistakenly believe their heart condition is "fixed" or they don't understand why or how long they need to take the medication.

"Identifying and correcting these misunderstandings is a first step healthcare professionals can take to ensure medication adherence," said Dr. Coke. "Healthcare professionals need to make sure that ACS patients and caregivers have the right information and support to follow their medication regimens."



More articles on medication adherence:
Patients motivated to control their HIV with financial incentives
Physicians don't provide enough medication adherence counseling: 7 findings
Practice Fusion EHR adds prescription management, cost savings feature

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