An observational study encompassing nearly 15,000 patients traces a link between medications prescribed to prevent heart attacks, such as statins and aspirin, and reduced severity of said attacks when they do occur.
“Cardioprotective medications such as aspirin, statins, and beta-blockers are prescribed to patients who have high risk of a heart attack because they reduce the chance of a first or repeat event,” said the study’s first author Dr Min Li, a researcher in the Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, School of Public Health, Peking University Health Science Centre, Beijing, China.
“Until now it was not known whether these drugs provided any benefit to patients who develop a heart attack despite taking the medication.”
The study concerned itself with 14,790 patients in hospital showing symptoms of Acute Coronary Syndrome, itself considered a precursor of a heart attack.
Prior use of relevant medications were “significantly associated with less severity of disease, less arrhythmia, and reduced risk of [major adverse cardiovascular events] during hospitalization,” according to a release from the European Society of Cardiology.
“The fact that many associations were not significant after we adjusted for disease severity suggests that these drugs may reduce the seriousness of ACS events, which lessens the clinical impact,” said Dr. Lin.
“We know that many heart attack patients stop taking their preventive medications. We need to do more to encourage adherence,” said Prof Michel Komajda, course director of the ESC program in China.
The findings of the study will be presented in October at the Great Wall International Congress of Cardiology.