Despite multiple randomized trials demonstrating their efficacy for the secondary prevention of coronary disease, lipid-lowering agents remain underused. Few studies have examined the relationship between predischarge initiation of lipid-lowering therapy and long-term use.
Using data from patients at 69 centers from the United States and Canada enrolled in the Evaluation in PTCA to Improve Long-term Outcome With Abciximab GP IIb/IIIa Blockade (EPILOG) trial, we performed a retrospective propensity-analyzed cohort study. Patients underwent percutaneous coronary intervention for stable or recently unstable coronary disease and were older than 21 years, were not taking lipid-lowering therapy at the time of admission, and survived to hospital discharge; 175 were discharged taking lipid-lowering therapy and 1951 were not.
After 6 months, 77% of patients who started taking lipid-lowering agents before hospital discharge continued taking therapy, compared with only 25% of those discharged without these agents (relative risk, 3.17; 95% confidence interval, 2.88-3.41; P<.001). After restricting the analysis to propensity-matched patients (n = 477) and adjusting for other potential confounders, initiation of a lipid-lowering agent during hospitalization was the strongest independent predictor of use at 6 months (relative risk, 2.50; 95% confidence interval, 2.29-2.65; P<.001).
Inpatient initiation of lipid-lowering therapy is a strong and independent positive predictor of subsequent use, with patients who start taking lipid-lowering therapy before hospital discharge nearly 3 times as likely to be taking these agents 6 months later. Inpatient initiation of lipid-lowering therapy appears to be an effective strategy for bridging the gap between current medical knowledge and practice.