The odds that an patient is still taking the medications as prescribed within a year vary significantly depending on race and gender, and black and Hispanic women are the least likely to adhere to their regimen, says a new study by the University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill.

The research, led by Gang Fang, assistant professor at the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, suggest that while cardiologists are prescribing preventive medications for heart-attack patients at the time of discharge, more needs to be done to help patients stay on those medications.

The researchers examined prescription records and looked at three types of medications - statins, beta blockers and ACEIs/ARBs - for over 85,000 patients.

The results, published in the journal Circulation, showed that although there is little racial and gender disparity in getting the patients started on preventive medications, keeping them on those medications long-term is a different story.

“Adherence is a two-dimensional behaviour - the physician has to prescribe the medication and the patient has to fill the prescription,” said Fang.

The study found adherence was worse among racial minorities. Black and Hispanic patients had the lowest likelihood of adherence to beta-blockers and statins, said the study.

The study also found that women, who have worse outcomes than men after heart attacks, had worse adherence within each race group, especially in blacks and Hispanics.


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