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Clin Ther. 2001 Jun;23(6):970-80.

The effects of postal and telephone reminders on compliance with pravastatin therapy in a national registry: results of the first myocardial infarction risk reduction program.

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Department of Emergency Medicine, Ohio State University School of Medicine, Columbus, USA.



Noncompliance with cardiovascular therapy and prevention initiatives is well documented.


The purpose of the First Myocardial Infarction (MI) Risk Reduction Program, an open-label drug registry involving mainly primary-care patients at increased risk of a first MI, was to examine the effects of postal and telephone reminders, as well as demographic and other baseline characteristics, on patient self-reported compliance with pravastatin treatment. A second objective was to determine whether regimen adherence was associated with the adoption of other lifestyle modifications recommended to decrease the risk of coronary artery disease.


Patients with risk scores of > or = 4 on a scale of -1 to +16 for men and -1 to +17 for women on the First Heart Attack Risk Test were considered to be at increased risk of a first MI and eligible for enrollment in the registry program. An elevated total cholesterol level despite dietary interventions was an additional inclusion criterion. Patients were prospectively randomized (4:1) to either an intervention involving postal and telephone reminders (about coronary risk reduction and medication compliance), which were sent during the first 2 months of pravastatin treatment, or usual care. Both groups received reminder postcards at 4 and 5 months, in addition to counseling by physicians about coronary risk reduction. At 3 and 6 months (or study discontinuation), patients completed and mailed to the program-coordinating center questionnaires concerning compliance with care, including current use of prescribed pravastatin, as well as self-reported adoption of other lifestyle modifications, such as changing eating habits, losing weight, increasing physical activity, and/or quitting smoking. Compliance with pravastatin therapy and with these coronary risk-reducing behaviors was also assessed by physicians at the 3-month follow-up visit.


A total of 10,335 patients were in the intervention group, and 2765 received usual care. The 2 groups were well balanced at baseline with respect to age, race, and total cholesterol values. Neither early reminders nor baseline patient characteristics were significantly associated with reported pravastatin compliance rates, which were approximately 79% overall. However, according to self-reports at 6 months, regimen compliance was associated with the adoption of other coronary risk-reducing behaviors.


The results of this study suggest that early telephone and postal reminders do not improve compliance with drug treatment or with recommended coronary risk-reducing behaviors.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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