Underuse of lipid-lowering drugs and factors associated with poor adherence: A real practice analysis in Italy

Mirko Di Martino, Luca Degli Esposti, Pierfrancesco Ruffo, Silvia Bustacchini, Alessandro Catte, Alessandra Sturani, Ezio Degli Esposti

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Background: Many studies have indicated the adequate use of lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs) as a factor in reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease. However, in clinical practice, a very high percentage of patients are not adequately treated. Objective: To analyze the management of hypercholesterolemia in a non-experimental setting and to estimate the factors associated with poor adherence to treatment. Methods: A longitudinal study was performed using clinical and demographic data recorded in the General Practitioners' database. The sample included all patients, aged 30 years or over, with total blood cholesterol measured between 1 January and 31 December 2000. Utilization of LLDs was defined as the standardized daily dose of the drugs purchased during the 12 months preceding the cholesterol measurement. Results: The study included 4764 patients (mean age 59.4±14.1 years, 40.7% males). Of the subjects with a total cholesterol higher than a 6.5 mmol/l, approximately 17% were treated with LLDs. About 39% of the patients with previous atherosclerotic diseases were taking statins. Analysis of patients taking LLDs showed that 40.6% of subjects took less than half of the defined daily dose. Factors associated with poor adherence to treatment were: absence of previous atherosclerotic diseases, absence of concomitant diseases, and smoking. A total cholesterol of less than 5 mmol/l was achieved in 19.9% of patients. Conclusions: Analyzing the data contained in the general medicine database made it possible to evaluate the use of LLDs in clinical practice and to establish the need to pay greater attention to achieving the objective set by the treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)225-230
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Pharmacology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - May 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology (medical)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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