, Volume 64, Issue 4, pp 417-424
Date: 06 Jan 2008

Equal access to treatment? Population-based follow-up of drugs dispensed to patients after acute myocardial infarction in Sweden

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Background and Objective

The establishment of national guidelines is one approach to creating equity in terms of access to care, and both internationally and in Sweden, guidelines have been developed for coronary heart disease. We have analysed drug treatment in Sweden according to national guidelines after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The aim was to investigate whether there are differences between population groups according to sex, education, country of birth and diabetes.


Information was obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register on drugs dispensed between July and October 2005 for incident cases of AMI during the period 2003–2004 (n = 28,168). Data on socio-economic and demographic conditions were included. Dispensed drugs after AMI were compared to the recommended drug treatment according to Swedish and European guidelines – acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), β-blockers, lipid-lowering drugs and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors).


We found that, in general, there were only small differences between the sexes and between educational groups. The greatest differences were found in comparisons between regions of birth. In particular, foreign-born patients resident in Sweden but originally from outside the EU25 countries used fewer drugs than Swedish-born patients. The OR (odds ratio) for ASA was 0.73 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63–0.85], for β-blockers, 0.72 (0.63–0.83), for lipid-lowering drugs, 0.75 (0.65–0.86) and for ACE inhibitors, 0.76 (0.67–0.86).


In general, we found only slight differences – or none at all – between population groups in terms of drug treatment after AMI. Only among immigrants from outside the EU25 countries was there a tendency towards a lesser use of the recommended drugs according to the national guidelines.