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Many Stroke Survivors Stop Taking Meds Within Two Years

Last Updated: January 15, 2010.

Many Swedish stroke survivors stop taking preventive medications in the first two years after their stroke, pointing out the need for interventions to improve patient persistence and prevent future strokes, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in Stroke.

FRIDAY, Jan. 15 (HealthDay News) -- Many Swedish stroke survivors stop taking preventive medications in the first two years after their stroke, pointing out the need for interventions to improve patient persistence and prevent future strokes, according to a study published online Jan. 14 in Stroke.

Eva-Lotta Glader, M.D., of Umeå University Hospital in Sweden, and colleagues assembled a cohort of 21,077 stroke survivors from the Swedish Stroke Register and then assessed their continued use of prescribed preventive medications, such as statins, antihypertensive drugs, antiplatelet drugs and blood thinners, against the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register.

The researchers found that the proportion of patients who continued their medications at discharge from hospital declined progressively over two years to 74.2 percent for antihypertensive drugs, 56.1 percent for statins, 63.7 percent for antiplatelet drugs, and 45.0 percent for the blood thinner warfarin. Continued use of most medications was associated with older age, self-perceived good health, comorbidities, absence of low mood, acute treatment in a stroke unit, and institutional living.

"Persistent secondary prevention treatment declines rapidly during the first two years after stroke, particularly for statins and warfarin. Effective interventions to improve persistent secondary prevention after stroke need to be developed," the authors write.

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