According to a new study by researchers at Wake Forest University Baptist Medical Center at least a quarter of patients who have suffered a stroke stop taking one or more of their prescribed stroke prevention medications within the first three months after being hospitalized. The study identified several modifiable factors that are associated with stroke survivors’ compliance in taking medication that can help prevent recurrent stroke. The paper appears online in the Archives of Neurology.
Researchers at Wake Forest Baptist and Duke Clinical Research Institute looked at compliance issues, as well as system and provider issues, such as what type of physician the patients saw, what kind of follow-up care they had and the patients’ understanding of their medications.
The researchers studied 2,598 patients from the Adherence Evaluation after Ischemic Stroke-Longitudinal Registry to evaluate how many stroke patients continued taking their prescribed medications to prevent a second stroke three months after their discharge from the hospital. They found about 75% of those studied had continued with their full regimen of medications three months after discharge, while almost 20% of patients had stopped taking one or more of their prescribed medications and 3.5% of patients weren’t taking any of their medications at three months.
Researchers learned from the study that multiple factors were associated with persistence in continuing secondary medication regimens, including, among other things, the presence of cardiovascular disease and risk factors prior to stroke, having insurance, having a better quality of life, and having an understanding of these medications and how to refill them.