Self-reported Information and Pharmacy Claims Were Comparable for Lipid-Lowering Medication Exposure

J Clin Epidemiol. 2007 May;60(5):525-9. doi: 10.1016/j.jclinepi.2006.08.007. Epub 2006 Dec 11.


Objective: To examine agreement between self-reported exposure to lipid-lowering medications and objective evidence of filling prescribed lipid-lowering medications.

Study design and setting: Using data from 7,918 adults from the Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACE) Study, we calculated the sensitivity, specificity, and positive (PV+) and negative (PV-) predictive values, and likelihood ratios for self-reported exposure to lipid-lowering medications compared to exposure obtained from pharmacy claims (gold standard) both overall and by age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, and ACE Score.

Results: Eight percent (n=655) of adults self-reported lipid-lowering medication exposure, and 379 adults filled at least one lipid-lowering prescription within 60 days of the baseline exam during 1997. The sensitivity of self-reported exposure was nearly 94%; the specificity was 96%; the PV+ was 54%; and the PV- was nearly 100%. Values for sensitivity, specificity, PV+, and PV- were similar across participant characteristics.

Conclusion: A self-reported measure of lipid-lowering medication exposure was accurate with high sensitivity and specificity while the PV+ of self-reported lipid-lowering medication exposure was relatively low. These findings suggest that self-reported exposure to lipid-lowering medications may be useful in surveys that examine the prevalence of hyperlipidemia, but may overestimate actual exposure in studies monitoring trends in use of lipid-lowering medications.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Age Distribution
  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Educational Status
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys / methods
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pharmacies / statistics & numerical data*
  • Self-Assessment*
  • Sex Distribution
  • United States / epidemiology


  • Anticholesteremic Agents