Women's College Research Institute

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Cardiac patients better off with longer prescriptions

November 2013

Dr. Noah IversNew research led by Dr. Noah Ivers, research fellow at Women’s College Research Institute and family physician at Women’s College Hospital, suggests that elderly cardiac patients given longer prescriptions when they leave hospital are more likely to continue taking their medication.

“Studies show that adherence to cardiac medications after a cardiac event like a heart attack declines over time. But we know that taking these medications for the long-term is absolutely essential for preventing further cardiac events like a heart attack or stroke,” says Ivers.

The study, published in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology, investigated medication adherence of more than 20,000 elderly patients with coronary artery disease. Ivers and his team found that patients prescribed heart medications for 60 days or more after leaving hospital were four times more likely to follow their prescription than patients given the same medications for 30 days. And regardless of the duration of the prescription, nearly all patients still attended their follow-up appointment.

The study calls for a change in practice—for doctors to give cardiac patients longer prescriptions. As Ivers explains, “This is something that doctors can do easily, and it will have a profound benefit on patients, reducing their risk of heart attacks, stroke or even death.”

View Ivers’ article in the Canadian Journal of Cardiology


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