Poor adherence to statin and antihypertensive medications substantially increases the risk for fatal stroke, researchers found.
Results of the Finnish population study were published in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
For the study, Kimmo Herttua, PhD, of the University of Southern Denmark, and colleagues analyzed electronic health and prescription records from national Finnish registers between 1995 and 2007. A total of 58 266 patients aged 30 years and older with high cholesterol were included. Patients did not have a history of pre-existing stroke or cardiovascular disease.
Over the course of the 5.5-year follow-up, 532 patients died of stroke, while 57 734 remained free of incident stroke. Among all patients, the adjusted odds ratio for stroke death for those nonadherent to statins compared with those who were adherent was 1.35 4 years before stroke death or end of follow-up (95% CI: 1.04-1.74) and 2.04 (95% CI: 1.72-2.43) at the year of stroke death or end of follow-up. Patients with hypertension who were nonadherent to both statins and antihypertensives had an odds ratio of 7.43 (95% CI: 5.22-10.59) at year or stroke death compared to adherent patients. Those who were nonadherent to statin therapy but adherent to antihypertensives had an odds ratio of 1.82 (95% CI: 1.43-2.33), and those who were adherent to statin therapy but not antihypertensives had an odds ratio of 1.30 (95% CI: 0.53-3.20).
Patients who are not adherent to their prescribed therapy are at an increased risk of fatal stroke; however adherence to either one of these therapies lowered stroke risk, the authors concluded.