Study: Many Medicare patients don't continue statin use after heart attack

Many Medicare heart attack patients do not continue taking their prescribed high-intensity statins with high adherence after hospital discharge, according to a report in JAMA Cardiology.

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For the study, researchers examined data on Medicare heart attack patients hospitalized between 2007 and 2012. All patients studied filled a high-intensity statin prescription within 30 days of hospital discharge.

At six months after discharge among beneficiaries aged 66 to 75 years, 17,633 were taking high-intensity statins with high adherence, 2,605 were considered down-titrated, meaning they switched to a low/moderate-intensity statin, 5,182 had low adherence and 3,705 discontinued their statin, according to the study. Two years after discharge, those numbers were 10,308, 3,315, 4,727 and 4,648, respectively.

Researchers said the number of Medicare heart attack patients aged 66 to 75 years taking high-intensity statins with high adherence increased during the study period. Additionally, "African American patients, Hispanic patients, and new high-intensity statin users were less likely to take high-intensity statins with high adherence, and those with dual Medicare/Medicaid coverage and more cardiologist visits after discharge and who participated in cardiac rehabilitation were more likely to take high-intensity statins with high adherence," they added. "Results were similar among beneficiaries older than 75 years of age."

The study's authors concluded interventions are needed to improve high-intensity statin use and adherence following a heart attack.


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