Washington DC: A new study has revealed that young women are less likely to be prescribed or take post-heart attack medications.
It is recommended that both male and female heart attack survivors take ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers and statins to prevent another heart attack. Yet studies have documented that rates of medication use to prevent a recurrent heart attack are lower among women than men.
There are two possible reasons why women take fewer cardiovascular medications than men in an outpatient setting, said lead author Kate Smolina of the University of British Columbia, adding that it is either a consequence of physicians' prescribing behavior, or patients not taking their prescribed medication, or both.
Researchers found that after leaving the hospital, only one-third of all heart attack survivors filled all of the appropriate prescriptions for at least 80 percent of the year.
Only 65 percent of women under the age of 55 initiated their treatment on all appropriate drugs after a heart attack, compared to 75 percent of men in the same age group. There was no difference between men and women in adherence to treatment; in other words, once on therapy, men and women tended to continue on it or drop out at the same rates.
The gender gap in treatment initiation among younger women is an important finding because younger women have much worse outcomes after suffering a heart attack than do men of the same age, said co-author Karin Humphries, adding that this finding suggests that younger women should be treated aggressively, especially when they have medications that work.
The study is published in the American Heart Association journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.