Low Cost Tactics Improve Medication Use after Heart Attack Print E-mail
Written by Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)   
Thursday, 13 March 2008
03.13.2008 [AHRQ]
Low Cost Tactics Improve Medication Use after Heart Attack.
Direct-to-patient communication about the importance of continuing prescription drug treatment after a heart attack is a simple, low-cost way to increase the likelihood of patients adhering to life saving therapies at least four out of every five days.

At a cost of $5 to $10 per patient, personalized letters and educational materials sent directly to heart attack patients increased this measure of adherence by 17%.

Heart disease is the number one cause of death in the U.S., costing an estimated $76 billion to treat in 2005. Experts recommend that patients who have heart attacks take medications such as beta blockers on a regular basis to prevent another heart attack and improve survival. But in the year following a heart attack, over half of patients may not continue taking their medications - possibly due to a number of factors including concerns about adverse effects, forgetting to refill prescriptions, and interruptions in routine. This study shows how easily-replicated and inexpensive communications tactics can increase adherence to recommended therapies by educating patients about the importance of continuing drug therapy.

Details are available in the study, “A Randomized Trial of Direct-to-Patient Communication to Enhance Adherence to Beta-Blocker Therapy Following Myocardial Infarction,” released in the March 10 issue of Archives of Internal Medicine. The study was led by investigators at the Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Research in Portland, Oregon, a part of the HMO Research Network Center for Education and Research in Therapeutics, which is funded by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

AHRQ is part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Its mission is to improve the quality, safety, efficiency, and effectiveness of health care for all Americans.

[Source: AHRQ; Newswire]