MedicalResearch.com Interview with:
Kate Smolina, PhD
Banting Postdoctoral Fellow
Centre for Health Services and Policy Research
School of Population and Public Health
The University of British Columbia
Vancouver, BC Canada
Medical Research: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
Dr. Smolina: Women take fewer cardiovascular medications than men in an outpatient setting and there is limited information in the literature as to why. There are two possible explanations: this is either a consequence of prescribing behaviour by physicians or adherence behaviour by patients – or a combination of the two. This study showed that younger women are less likely to be prescribed or to fill their first prescription after a heart attack compared to younger men. But once the therapy is actually started, we found no sex differences in adherence. This is very helpful because it identifies the point on the continuum of care at which the disparity occurs and where we need to focus interventions.
Medical Research: What should clinicians and patients take away from your report?
Dr. Smolina: Awareness and education of healthcare professionals about this sex disparity in treatment is an important first step. Recognition of younger women as an under-treated subgroup should be incorporated into physician education. Because this disparity is likely a result of multiple factors at play, there is no obvious quick-fix solution. Future research should be directed towards understanding the underlying drivers.
Kate Smolina, PhD (2015). Young Women Receive Fewer Medications After Heart Attack