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Primary nonadherence to statin medications: Survey of patient perspectives.

  • Author(s): Tarn, Derjung M;
  • Pletcher, Mark J;
  • Tosqui, Rosa;
  • Fernandez, Alicia;
  • Tseng, Chi-Hong;
  • Moriconi, Rachel;
  • Bell, Douglas S;
  • Barrientos, Maureen;
  • Turner, Jon A;
  • Schwartz, Janice B
  • et al.

Statin medications reduce cardiovascular events, but many patients never start taking their prescribed statin (primary nonadherence). Limited knowledge exists about the attitudes and beliefs of those with primary nonadherence. In this study, patients with primary nonadherence to statin medications (n = 173) completed a self-administered cross-sectional survey that assessed their attitudes and beliefs related to primary nonadherence and to potential motivators for statin use. Patients were recruited in 2019 from two academic health systems and nationwide internet advertisements. Only 49 of 173 (28.3%) patients with primary nonadherence reported having cardiovascular disease (CVD). Ninety-nine patients (57.2%) never filled their prescription, and 74 (42.8%) filled but never took any statin. Over half failed to initially inform their prescriber they might not take the statin. Patients strongly or somewhat agreed that they desired alternate treatment plans such as diet and/or exercise (n = 134; 77.4%) or natural remedies/dietary supplements (n = 125; 72.3%). Ninety-eight (56.6%) stronglyor somewhat worried about the possibility of statin dependence or addiction. Twenty-seven (15.6%) patients noted that they would not take a statin based solely on CVD risk estimates; 50 (28.9%) selected a CVD risk threshold of >20%; and 23 (13.3%) a threshold of >50% as motivating factors to take statins. Patients with primary nonadherence have attitudes about taking statins based on CVD risk that differ from scientific recommendations, may not tell providers about their hesitation to take statins, and likely prefer alternative initial approaches to cholesterol lowering. Early shared decision-making and assessment of patient attitudes about statins could potentially better align initial approaches for CVD risk reduction.

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