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Discontinuation of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid therapy in UK primary care: incidence and predictors in patients with cardiovascular disease

Authors Martin-Merino E, Johansson, Bueno, Garcia Rodriguez

Received 28 December 2011

Accepted for publication 7 February 2012

Published 16 March 2012 Volume 2012:3 Pages 1—9


Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 3

Elisa Martín-Merino1, Saga Johansson2, Héctor Bueno3, Luis A García Rodríguez1

1Spanish Centre for Pharmacoepidemiologic Research (CEIFE), Madrid, Spain; 2AstraZeneca R&D, Mölndal, Sweden; 3Department of Cardiology, Hospital General Universitario Gregorio Marañón, Madrid, Spain

Background: Discontinuation of low-dose acetylsalicylic acid (ASA) leads to an increased risk of cardiovascular and cerebrovascular events in patients taking low-dose ASA for secondary cardiovascular prevention. However, little is known about the rate of discontinuation in everyday clinical practice.
Objectives: To assess the rate of low-dose ASA discontinuation in primary care, and identify factors that predict discontinuation.
Methods: The Health Improvement Network, a large UK primary care database, was used to identify patients aged 50–84 years who received at least two consecutive prescriptions for low-dose ASA for secondary cardiovascular or cerebrovascular prevention in 2000–2007 (n = 35,639). Discontinuation was defined as a period of at least 90 days after completion of the last prescribed course of ASA during which no repeat prescription was issued.
Results: During the study, 11,729 patients (32.9%) discontinued ASA therapy (mean follow-up 2.5 years). The discontinuation rate was lower in patients with ASA indicated for myocardial infarction than for other indications. The diagnosis of gastrointestinal disorders during the study (overall odds ratio: 1.74; 95% confidence interval: 1.61–1.88) was associated with increased rates of ASA discontinuation, whereas co-prescription of a proton pump inhibitor from the start of ASA therapy was associated with a decreased rate of discontinuation (odds ratio: 0.80; 95% confidence interval: 0.75–0.86). Co-prescription of several other cardioprotective medications was also associated with a reduced risk of discontinuation, as were increasing age, prior hospitalization and overall number of co-medications.
Conclusion: Continuous co-prescription of a PPI with low-dose ASA may improve adherence and outcomes, particularly in patients at both cardiovascular and gastrointestinal risk.

Keywords: aspirin, primary health care, compliance

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