Surprising Number of Patients Do Not Take Their Prescribed Statin Medication

Dr. Heli Halava: Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology, Turku, Interview with:
Dr. Heli Halava:
Departments of Public Health and Pharmacology,
Turku, Finland

MedicalResearch: What are the main findings of the study?

Dr. Halava: The associations between lifestyle factors and nonadherence to statin therapy varied by cardiovascular comorbidity status. Of the participants without cardiovascular comorbidities (n = 6458), 3171 (49.1%) were nonadherent with their statin therapy. Of the participants with cardiovascular comorbidities (n = 2827), 1155 (40.9%) were nonadherent.

People with cardiovascular comorbidities who had risky drinking behaviours or a cluster of lifestyle risks were at increased risk of nonadherence.

MedicalResearch: Were any of the findings unexpected?

Dr. Halava: Among individuals without cardiovascular comorbidities, overweight, obesity and former smoking were predictors of better adherence.

This provides insight into mechanisms of adherence to preventive medication that deserve further study.

MedicalResearch: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?

Dr. Halava: A recent meta-analysis of 44 epidemiologic studies suggested that almost 1 in 10 cardiovascular events can be attributed to medication nonadherence (defined as taking less than 80% of the prescribed medication).

Among patients with cardiovascular diseases or diabetes those with high mean alcohol consumption, extreme drinking occasions or clustering of 3-4 lifestyle risks may be at high risk of nonadherence.

MedicalResearch: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Dr. HalavaMechanisms of adherence to preventive medication deserve further study.


Lifestyle factors as predictors of nonadherence to statin therapy among patients with and without cardiovascular comorbidities
Heli Halava, Maarit Jaana Korhonen, Risto Huupponen, Soko Setoguchi, Jaana Pentti, Mika Kivimäki, and Jussi Vahtera
CMAJ cmaj.131807; published ahead of print June 23, 2014, doi:10.1503/cmaj.131807


Last Updated on November 4, 2015 by Marie Benz MD FAAD