Half of ACS Patients Don't Adhere to Antiplatelet Agents After Angioplasty

May 6, 2015
Rachel Lutz

Despite being told the importance of medication adherence, about half of acute coronary syndrome patients don't take their oral antiplatelet therapy as prescribed.

Despite being told the importance of medication adherence, about half of acute coronary syndrome (ACS) patients don’t take their oral antiplatelet therapy as prescribed.

A recent Harris Poll conducted on behalf of Daiichi Sankyo and Eli Lilly and Company surveyed 305 ACS patients aged 35 to 74 years between February 13, 2014, and April 10, 2014. All of the participants had undergone an angioplasty procedure with or without a cardiac stent within a year prior to the survey, and 275 were currently receiving oral antiplatelet therapy.

Among those surveyed, 214 respondents were aged younger than 65 years, while the remaining respondents were aged older than 65 years. The survey found younger participants were significantly less likely to follow their oral antiplatelet regimen as prescribed than the older participants, even though they were more concerned about their heart health. Overall, 52% of the 275 ACS patients currently taking prescribed oral antiplatelet therapy indicated they have missed a dose or changed the way they take it.

“Patients may stop taking their [oral antiplatelet] medication for a variety of reasons, such as mistakenly believing their heart condition is ‘fixed’ or not understanding why or how long they need to take the medication,” explained Lola Coke, PhD, ACNS-BC, RN-BC, FAHA, FPCNA, associate professor of nursing and cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist at Rush University Medical Center in a press release. “Identifying and correcting these misunderstandings is a first step health care professionals can take to ensure medication adherence. Health care professionals need to make sure that ACS patients and caregivers have the right information and support to follow their medication regimens.”

Alarmingly, roughly 1 in 5 respondents who visited a health care professional in the previous 12 months following their angioplasty procedure said their questions about their prescribed oral antiplatelet therapy were not addressed by the care team. Furthermore, 12% of respondents did not recall being informed by their health care professionals that nonadherence could lead to serious future cardiac events, and only half of those surveyed remembered being asked during a follow-up visit if they had filled their antiplatelet prescription.

In response to these results, the Preventive Cardiovascular Nurses Association, Society for Cardiovascular Angiography and Interventions, and Mended Hearts, with support from Daiichi Sankyo and Eli Lilly and Company, are urging health care professionals to help ACS patients stick to their prescribed antiplatelet therapy following an angioplasty or cardiac stent procedure.