Importance of Taking Heart Medication

Post-surgery heart disease patients are less likely to take their statin medications

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

(RxWiki News) Heart disease patients usually take certain drugs to lower their cholesterol. Researchers found that patients treated for heart disease with surgery were less likely to stay on their cholesterol-lowering drugs, than those patients who were treated only with drugs.

These patients are not taking their cholesterol medications even though there is plenty of evidence showing that the drugs help, the study's authors write. The amount of heart surgery patients who are sticking to their medications is less than it should be.

"Heart surgery patients are not taking their medications."

Alexander Kulik, M.D., M.P.H., from Brigham and Women's Hospital, and colleagues followed more than 13,000 patients who had been hospitalized for coronary artery disease, or heart disease, between 1995 and 2004. All of the patients were 65 years of age or older, and had been prescribed statins - a type of drug used to lower cholesterol.

The researchers looked at how well different patients stuck to their statin treatments. They compared statin adherence in heart disease patients who were only treated with drugs, those who had undergone percutaneous coronary intervention (a way to widen blood vessels), or those who had undergone coronary artery bypass graft surgery.

The authors conclude that their findings call attention to the need for finding ways to get patients to stick to their drugs.

The Study

The researchers found:

  • More than 79 percent of patients treated only with drugs stuck to their statin treatment
  • 70.6 percent of patients who were treated with percutaneous coronary intervention stuck to their statin treatment
  • 70.2 percent of patients who were treated with coronary artery bypass graft surgery stuck to their treatment
Reviewed by: 
Review Date: 
April 27, 2011
Last Updated:
April 28, 2011