Changes in the utilisation of lipid-lowering drugs over a 6-year period (1993–1998) in a Danish population
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Objective: The effect of lipid-lowering drugs (LLDs) on coronary heart disease is well established. However, their utilisation is often suspected to be too low. The aim of this study was to describe the epidemiology of LLD use with special emphasis on the development of utilisation over a 6-year period in a Danish population. Methods: For all people who purchased LLDs from 1993 to 1998 in Funen County, all prescriptions for LLDs and co-medication with cardiovascular and anti-diabetic drugs were retrieved from Odense University Pharmacoepidemiologic Database (OPED). Results: During the study period, LLD use increased nearly exponentially. In 1998, statins accounted for 95% of the total LLD consumption. The incidence increased markedly around the time of the publication of the Scandinavian Simvastatin Survival Study (4S). Only 3% of the statins were purchased without reimbursement. The female/male ratio was 0.69 and the median age was 60 years. General practitioners issued 73% of the total number of LLD prescriptions, and 55% of the treatments were initiated in general practice. A larger fraction of females and elderly started treatment in general practice. About 40% of the treatments were hospital initiated, and about one-third were followed up in general practice within the first year. Conclusions: Over the 6 years studied, utilisation of LLDs approached a level that may correspond to the current guideline recommendations. Compliance with guidelines should, however, be studied by following people with coronary heart disease.
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