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Updated 11:00 AM March 22, 2004



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Why don't heart patients take their medicine?

It's one of the biggest conundrums in medicine: Why don't patients take the medications their doctors prescribe, even when the drugs could save their lives or prevent their conditions from worsening?

A study by the Cardiovascular Center (CVC) sheds some light on this problem by looking at reasons heart attack and angina patients don't take four key drugs known to cut their symptoms and risk of death.

The study, presented this month at the Annual Scientific Session of the American College of Cardiology, finds forgetfulness, carelessness and side effects all play a role.

Even among patients whose doctors are taking part in a program aimed at optimizing the quality of heart care—as these U-M patients were—about half reported some problems sticking to their drug regimens six months after they left the hospital.

"It's crucial that we determine why patients aren't adhering to their medications, because we know that taking these particular four drugs can do so much for them," says senior author Dr. Kim Eagle, CVC clinical director.

The results were presented at the ACC meeting by Medical School student Anchal Sud. Authors also include others at the Michigan Cardiovascular Outcomes Research and Reporting Program, including Dr. Jianming Fang, registered nurse Eva Kline-Rogers, Steve Erickson, David Armstrong, Krishna Rangarjan and Dr. Rich Otten.

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