Patients with both high blood pressure and dyslipidemia (high lipid levels), are at substantially greater risk of coronary heart disease (CHD) events, such as heart attack, than those with either condition alone, according to background information in the article. The current study was designed to study how well patients with both conditions adhere to a drug regimen including both anti-hypertensive (AH, blood pressure lowering) and lipid-lowering (LL) medications.
Richard H. Chapman, Ph.D., of ValueMedics Research, L.L.C., Arlington, Va., and colleagues examined the database from a managed care organization to identify patients who had been prescribed both anti-hypertensive and lipid-lowering medications within a period of 90 days between January 1, 1997, and January 30, 2001. Adherence to concomitant therapy (taking both medications) was established at three, six and 12 months following treatment start on the basis of prescriptions filled. Patients were considered to be taking their drugs as prescribed if they had filled prescriptions sufficient to cover at least 80 percent of days of both classes of medications.
A total of 8,406 patients were followed for an average of 12.9 months. The percentage of patients adhering to both anti-hypertensive and lipid-lowering declined sharply over the course of the study, with 44.7 percent maintaining their treatment regimen at three months, 35.9 percent at six months and 35.8 percent at twelve months. At each time interval, an additional 25.3 to 29.6 percent were taking one, but not both, drugs as prescribed.