Objective: The objective of this study was to assess expectations of effect when using statins in a treatment population. Further the aim was to examine factors, including history and concurrent risk of coronary heart disease, associated with a higher and lower treatment belief.
Methods: Eight hundred and twenty-nine (829) Swedish patients using statins completed postal questionnaires about their health, life style, cardiovascular risk factors and expectation of the treatment. Expected treatment benefit was used as outcome measurement.
Results: A medical history of coronary heart disease did not affect treatment expectations. Patients with a high risk of cardiovascular disease reported a slightly lower expectation of the treatment effect at a 10-year perspective (p<0.01) but not at shorter time perspectives. Low satisfaction with the explanation of the purpose of the treatment and a poor perceived control of own health was associated with a more negative view on treatment benefit.
Conclusion: The rationale applied by physicians prescribing statins does not seem to relate to the patients' expectations, whereas factors relating to the patient-physician relationship, the social situation and the perceived control of health seem to affect patient belief.
Practice implications: The association between patients' poor satisfaction of treatment explanation and a low belief in treatment benefits emphasizes the importance of the patient-physician communication. It is suggested that clinical tools are developed in order to identify patients with poor belief in treatment benefit since tailored education for this group might reduce the risk of non-compliance and subsequently reduce the risk of coronary heart disease.