Published Online: Sunday, February 1, 2004

Statins Work Better When Started in Hospital

Patients with heart problems are more apt to take statins at home after beginning treatment with the drugs in the hospital than if they did not take the drugs while in the hospital. These findings, published recently in the Archives of Internal Medicine, are based on data collected from patients at 69 centers in the United States and Canada participating in the Evaluation in PTCA to Improve Long-Term Outcome with Abciximab GP IIb/IIIa Blockade trial. During that trial, patients who were hospitalized for the treatment of heart disease were randomly selected to receive a placebo or statins.

In the new study, 175 patients were taking lipid-lowering drugs upon discharge from the hospital, compared with 1951 who were not. Patients not taking the drugs at discharge, however, had them prescribed by their physicians later. In 6 months of follow-up, the researchers found that 77% of the patients who had started taking statins in the hospital had continued taking them, compared with 25% of the patients who had left the hospital without receiving this drug therapy.

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