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Time trends in the prescription of statins for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in the United Kingdom: a cohort study using The Health Improvement Network primary care data

Authors O'Keeffe A, Nazareth I, Petersen I

Received 14 January 2016

Accepted for publication 26 February 2016

Published 27 May 2016 Volume 2016:8 Pages 123—132


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Henrik Toft Sørensen

Aidan G O’Keeffe,1 Irwin Nazareth,2 Irene Petersen2

1Department of Statistical Science, 2Department of Primary Care and Population Health, University College London, London, UK

Background: Statins are widely prescribed for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease. Guidelines exist for statin prescriptions, but there is little recent analysis concerning prescription trends over time and how these vary with respect to demographic variables.
Methods and results: Using The Health Improvement Network primary care database, statin therapy initiation and statin prescription prevalence rates were calculated using data from 7,027,711 individuals across the UK for the years 1995 to 2013, overall and stratified by sex, age group, and socioeconomic deprivation level (Townsend score). Statin therapy initiation rates rose sharply from 1995 (0.51 per 1,000 person-years) up to 2006 (19.83 per 1,000 person-years) and thereafter declined (10.76 per 1,000 person-years in 2013). Males had higher initiation rates than females and individuals aged 60–85 years had higher initiation rates than younger or more elderly age groups. Initiation rates were slightly higher as social deprivation level increased, after accounting for age and sex. Prescription prevalence increased sharply from 1995 (2.36 per 1,000 person-years) to 2013 (128.03 per 1,000 person-years) with males generally having a higher prevalence rate, over time, than females. Prevalence rates over time were generally higher for older age groups but were similar with respect to social deprivation level.
Conclusion: The uptake of statins within UK primary care has increased greatly over time with statins being more commonly prescribed to older patients in general and, in recent years, males appear to have been prescribed statins at higher rates than females. After accounting for age and sex, the statin therapy initiation rate increases with the level of social deprivation.

Keywords: cardiovascular disease, primary prevention, statin therapy, time trend, United Kingdom

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