Patients with high cholesterol who regularly take their statins have significantly fewer hospitalizations from cardiovascular problems and can reduce their health care costs by as much as $944 over 18 months, says a study from the American Journal of Cardiology. Lead author Donald G. Pittman, PharmD, of the Medco Research Institute and colleagues reviewed claims from 381,422 patients ages 18–61. Adherence was measured using the medication possession ratio (MPR) — the ratio of total days of medication supplied to the total days within a specified period.
The researchers found that the adherent patient group had significantly lower odds of cardiovascular-related hospitalizations compared with the nonadherent group. Health care costs for patients who were least adherent were nine percentage points higher than the patients who followed their prescribed regimen. Those who took their statins regularly had higher drug costs that were offset by lower medical costs leading to lower total health care costs.
While more than two thirds of patients were found to be adherent to their statin therapy (MPR ≥80 percent), 17 percent were identified as moderately adherent (MPR 60 percent to 79 percent) and 15 percent were classified as poorly adherent (MPR <0 percent to 59 percent).
Source: Pittman DG, Chen W, Bowlin SJ, Foody JM. Adherence to statins, subsequent health care costs, and cardiovascular hospitalizations. Am J Cardiol. 2011;107:1662–1666