International Journal of Clinical Pharmacy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 384–393 | Cite as

Use of medications for secondary prevention in stroke patients at hospital discharge in Australia

  • Ashraf EissaEmail author
  • Ines Krass
  • Beata V. Bajorek
Research Article


Background Stroke is one of the leading causes of death and disability. Significant proportions (33 %) of stroke presentations are by patients with a previous stroke or transient ischaemic attack. Consequently, the stroke management guidelines recommend that all ischaemic stroke patients should receive three key evidence-based preventive drug therapies: antihypertensive drug therapy, a statin and an antithrombotic drug therapy (anticoagulant and/or antiplatelet). Objective To determine the rates of utilization of the three key evidence-based drug therapies for the secondary prevention of stroke and to identify factors associated with use of treatment at discharge. Setting Five metropolitan hospitals in New South Wales, comprising two tertiary referral centres and three district hospitals. Method A retrospective clinical audit was conducted in the study hospitals. Patients discharged with a principal diagnosis of ischaemic stroke during a 12-month time period (July 2009–2010) were identified for review. Main outcome measure The rate of utilization of each of the three key evidence-based drug therapies and the factors associated with use of treatment at discharge. Results A total of 521 medical records were reviewed. Of these, 469 patients were discharged alive with a mean age of 73.6 ± 14.4 years. Overall, 75.4 % were prescribed an antihypertensive agent at discharge versus only 65.7 % on admission (P < 0.05). Three hundred-sixty patients (77.6 % of the eligible patients) were prescribed a statin at discharge (compared to only 43.9 % on admission, P < 0.05), of whom 74.0 % received monotherapy. Almost all (97.6 %) eligible patients were prescribed an antithrombotic drug therapy at discharge, of whom 68.5 % were prescribed monotherapy and 28.2 % were prescribed dual therapy. Only 60.0 % of eligible patients were discharged on all three key guideline recommended secondary preventive drug therapies. Multivariate logistic regression analyses showed that hypertension (OR 6.67; 95 % CI 4.35–11.11), hypercholesterolemia (OR 2.04; 95 % CI 1.32–3.23), and discharge destination (OR 0.22; 95 % CI 0.10–0.48) were associated with the utilization of all three guideline recommended therapies. Conclusion There is a scope for improvement in implementing the stroke management guidelines when it comes to prescribing secondary preventive drug therapies using antihypertensives, antithrombotics and statins. Appropriate risk/benefit assessment is indispensable for optimal prescribing and maximizing patient outcomes, particularly in older people.


Australia Cerebrovascular accident Clinical audit Medical care Secondary prevention Stroke 



The authors would like to thank Professor Christopher Levi, Associate professor Jonathan Sturm, and Rabsima Ibrahim for supporting this research project. The authors would also like to thank the casemix, statistics, and medical records departments at each hospital for providing support for this study.


No external funding has been obtained for the study.

Conflicts of interest

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Koninklijke Nederlandse Maatschappij ter bevordering der Pharmacie 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Pharmacy (A15)University of SydneySydneyAustralia
  2. 2.Royal North Shore HospitalSydneyAustralia
  3. 3.University of Technology SydneySydneyAustralia

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