Many Older Heart Attack Survivors Don't Stick With Meds

TUESDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- Many older people who've survived a heart attack fail to take their prescribed medications over the long-term, a new study finds.

The study, by University of Maryland researchers, looked at the use of four major classes of heart medications: statins (cholesterol-lowering drugs such as Crestor or Lipitor); ACE inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs); beta-blockers; and the blood thinner clopidogrel (Plavix).

The investigators tracked the use of these prescription medications among heart attack survivors for up to 33 months after they were discharged from the hospital.

The long-term use of these medications by patients in this study was generally lower than what had been reported in prior studies, according to the team led by Ilene Zuckerman, professor and chair of the department of pharmaceutical health services research at the University of Maryland School of Pharmacy.

"It is reasonable to conclude that efforts to increase adherence to [the drugs] may have a long-term beneficial effect" on the health of heart attack survivors, Zuckerman said in a university news release.

The findings were published online recently in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart attack recovery.

SOURCE: University of Maryland, news release, Oct. 10, 2012

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