Drugs such as statins that have the potential to prevent strokes and other types of cardiovascular disease have not been prescribed to a large proportion of people at risk in the UK, according to a research article by Grace Turner of the University of Birmingham, Birmingham, UK and colleagues published in PLOS Medicine.
Turner and colleagues studied data from THIN, a database that includes anonymized primary care health information for about 6% of the UK population. In an analysis of data from 29,043 people who had suffered a first-ever stroke or transient ischaemic attack during the period January 2009-December 2013, the authors compared the proportion of people prescribed one of three classes of drugs able to prevent strokes with the proportion of people who had a clinical need for one or more of the drugs. Among the patients, 17,680 were eligible to be prescribed at least one of the classes of drugs studied at the time of their stroke or transient ischaemic attack. The data indicate that 49% (7,836/16,028) of the patients were not prescribed a clinically-indicated lipid-lowering drug, such as a statin, 25% (1,740/7,008) were not prescribed anti-hypertensive drugs, and 52% (1,647/3,194) were not prescribed anticoagulant drugs.
In this study, the reasons for drugs not being prescribed to individual patients–which could include those refusing medication — were not available. However, the authors’ findings suggest that improved prescribing could potentially avert up to 12,000 strokes per year in the UK.
Filed Under: Drug Discovery