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Eur J Cardiovasc Prev Rehabil. 2007 Jun;14(3):386-91.

Use of secondary preventive medications after the first attack of acute coronary syndrome.

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KTL-National Public Health Institute, Helsinki, Finland.



It is not well-known to what extent evidence-based medications, such as beta-blockers, hypolipidemic medications, and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, are prescribed after an attack of acute coronary syndrome in the general healthcare setting and what is the compliance of patients with these prescriptions.


We conducted a countrywide record linkage study.


We used record linkage of the National Hospital Discharge Register, Causes of Death Register, and Social Insurance Institution's drug reimbursement records to identify drug purchases of patients aged 35-74 years hospitalized for the first nonfatal acute coronary syndrome in Finland during 1995-2003 (n=53 353).


In 2003 about 28 and 15% of the patients did not receive hypolipidemic medications or beta-blockers, respectively, after their acute coronary syndrome and a further 6 and 10% discontinued the use about 3 months later. Patients aged 65-74 years were less likely to receive hypolipidemic medications [odds ratio (OR) 0.55; 95% confidence interval (CI), 0.53-0.58] and beta-blockers (OR 0.77; 95% CI, 0.74-0.81) than younger patients. Diabetic patients received less hypolipidemic medications (OR 0.82; 95% CI, 0.78-0.86) and were more likely to discontinue the medication (OR 1.15; 95% CI, 1.05-1.26) than nondiabetic patients. In proportional hazards regression analyses the regular use of hypolipidemic medication or beta-blockers was associated with lower risk of cardiovascular death: adjusted hazard ratios 0.47 (95% CI, 0.41-0.53) and 0.54 (95% CI, 0.49-0.60), respectively.


Our study showed that the evidence-based use of medications after acute coronary syndrome was suboptimal in Finland, particularly in elderly and diabetic patients. Consistent use of these medications, however, was associated with a better prognosis.

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