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Heart Medications: The More You Skip, The More You Risk

Although it might take some effort to find out why some patients skip taking their medicine, a new study finds that heart patients who most frequently miss a dose are more than twice as likely to suffer heart attack, stroke and death.

The findings are important because they pinpoint the size of the problem, said study co-author Mary Whooley, M.D., associate professor of medicine at the University of California at San Francisco. Just over 8 percent of the 1,015 patients surveyed said they fail to take their medicine at least 25 percent of the time.

"The next step is to figure out how we can change people's behavior," Whooley said. "It is so hard to convince people to lose weight, exercise and take their medicines as they're supposed to. If we could figure out ways to motivate people to change, that would have tremendous public health consequences."

Whooley and colleagues asked coronary heart patients taking part in a national study whether they took their medications over the past month as prescribed. Then they followed the patients for almost four years to see who died and who had survived a heart attack or stroke. The study results appear in the Sept. 10 issue of the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Click here to see the rest of this article in Medical News Today

Reprinted with kind permission from


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