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People With Heart Disease, Diabetes May Be More Likely to Stay on Statins

Study also finds former smokers, overweight better at taking cholesterol-lowering drugs as prescribed
(*this news item will not be available after 09/21/2014)

By Robert Preidt
Monday, June 23, 2014
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MONDAY, June 23, 2014 (HealthDay News) -- People who have heart disease or diabetes, the overweight or obese and former smokers are most likely to keep taking cholesterol-lowering statins, a new study finds.

Previous research has shown that as many 46 percent of patients who are prescribed statins stop taking them. Nearly one in 10 cardiovascular events are linked to failure to take prescribed drugs, according to background information in the study.

Researchers looked at a group of people from Finland who began taking statins between 1998 and 2010. The people most likely to stop taking statins were women, single people and those aged 24 to 50.

People without heart disease or diabetes were less likely to continue taking statins than those with the conditions. Among patients without heart disease or diabetes, those who were most likely to continue taking statins were overweight/obese or former smokers.

"As expected, patients with a history of cardiovascular disease or diabetes had better adherence to statin therapy than those without these comorbidities," wrote Dr. Heli Halava, of the University of Turku in Finland, and coauthors. "Because of their increased risk of cardiovascular events, patients with comorbidities likely have a strong perception of the need for statin treatment."

The researchers also found that heavy drinkers were much less likely to keep taking statins than nondrinkers.

"Heavy drinkers may intentionally avoid taking mediation because of potential drug-alcohol interactions, they may unintentionally miss doses or even refills because of intoxication, or they may simply be less concerned about missing doses," the authors wrote.

The study was published on June 23 in the Canadian Medical Association Journal online.

SOURCE: Canadian Medical Association Journal, news release, June 23, 2014

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