Tuesday, December 02, 2014

Danger Of Non-Adherence To Anti-Hypertensive Drug!

People with hypertension (high blood pressure) are at a higher risk of getting chronic diseases including heart disease, kidney failure and stroke if their conditions are not properly managed. In order to bring their blood pressure to the acceptable levels, they should adopt healthy diet and have regular exercise, as well as take prescribed anti-hypertensive medications from their doctors.

A paper, which was published online July 18, 2013 in the ‘European Heart Journal’ by researchers from the Population Research Unit at the University of Helsinki, Finland together with scientists from Finland and University College London, United Kingdom, reported that people who have high blood pressure and do not take their anti-hypertensive drug treatments when they should, have a higher risk of suffering a stroke and dying from it compared to those who take their medication correctly. 

The study used records of 73,527 hypertensive patients taken from Finnish national registers between 1 January 1995 and 31 December 2007. These participants aged 30 years or older and had no prior condition of stroke or cardiovascular disease.

It was found that patients who did not adhere to their medications had a nearly 4-fold increased risk of dying from stroke in the second year after first being prescribed drugs to control their blood pressure, and a 3-fold increased risk in the 10th year, compared with adherent patients. In the year that the non-adherent patients died from a stroke, they had a 5.7-fold higher risk than the adherent patients. 

Patients who did not take their medication correctly were also more likely to be admitted to hospital after a stroke. Their risk of hospitalization was 2.7-fold higher in the second year after being prescribed anti-hypertensive drugs compared to adherent patients, and nearly 1.7-fold higher in the 10th year. In the year in which they were admitted to hospital with a stroke, their risk was nearly 2-fold higher than the adherent patients. 

These findings suggested poor adherence to antihypertensive therapy could substantially raise near- and long-term risk of stroke among patients who had high blood pressure. Non-adherent hypertensive patients could have a greater risk even 10 years before they suffer a stroke.

While the study had the size (large number of participants) as strength, it had possible limitations, too. The researchers might not know whether the patients actually took their drugs, even though they had collected their prescriptions. Moreover, the records used in the study did not have other information such as body mass index, smoking, alcohol consumption and resting blood pressure.

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