ATLANTA, May 11, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Older patients with high cholesterol or high blood pressure are at particular risk for unnecessary hospitalizations if they don't follow doctor's orders on taking their medications, according to new research from Express Scripts (NASDAQ: ESRX) presented this week.
Data from two studies show that patients 65 and older who did not take their medicines as prescribed had around a 30 percent higher risk of hospitalization for cardiovascular disease when compared to patients who took their medications as prescribed. The two studies were presented at the American Heart Association's Quality of Care and Outcomes Research in Cardiovascular Disease and Stroke 2012 Scientific Sessions.
"Many hospitalizations and emergency room visits may be avoided if you take your statin and blood pressure medications as prescribed," said Donald Pittman, PharmD, national practice leader of the Cardiovascular Therapeutic Resource Center at Express Scripts and the lead researcher for both studies. "Conditions like high cholesterol and high blood pressure are usually asymptomatic, so patients often forget how important it is to take these medicines. The failure to remain on treatment can increase the risk of heart attack, stroke or cardiovascular-related death."High cholesterol and cardiovascular diseases such as high blood pressure, heart failure and heart attack are more prevalent conditions among the 65 and older population. These conditions can be well-managed with affordable prescription medications. One study, looking at patients age 65 and older using cholesterol-lowering medications known as statins, found that the least-adherent patients had a 28 percent increased risk of cardiovascular hospitalizations compared with the adherent patients. The second study, looking at the 65 and older population using high blood pressure medications, showed that the least-adherent patients had a 31 percent higher cardiovascular hospitalization rate during the one-year follow-up period.
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