Equal access to treatment? Population-based follow-up of drugs dispensed to patients after acute myocardial infarction in Sweden

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2008 Apr;64(4):417-24. doi: 10.1007/s00228-007-0425-y. Epub 2008 Jan 6.


Background and objective: The establishment of national guidelines is one approach to creating equity in terms of access to care, and both internationally and in Sweden, guidelines have been developed for coronary heart disease. We have analysed drug treatment in Sweden according to national guidelines after acute myocardial infarction (AMI). The aim was to investigate whether there are differences between population groups according to sex, education, country of birth and diabetes.

Methods: Information was obtained from the Swedish Prescribed Drug Register on drugs dispensed between July and October 2005 for incident cases of AMI during the period 2003-2004 (n=28,168). Data on socio-economic and demographic conditions were included. Dispensed drugs after AMI were compared to the recommended drug treatment according to Swedish and European guidelines--acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), beta-blockers, lipid-lowering drugs and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACE inhibitors).

Results: We found that, in general, there were only small differences between the sexes and between educational groups. The greatest differences were found in comparisons between regions of birth. In particular, foreign-born patients resident in Sweden but originally from outside the EU25 countries used fewer drugs than Swedish-born patients. The OR (odds ratio) for ASA was 0.73 [95% confidence interval (CI) 0.63-0.85], for beta-blockers, 0.72 (0.63-0.83), for lipid-lowering drugs, 0.75 (0.65-0.86) and for ACE inhibitors, 0.76 (0.67-0.86).

Conclusions: In general, we found only slight differences--or none at all--between population groups in terms of drug treatment after AMI. Only among immigrants from outside the EU25 countries was there a tendency towards a lesser use of the recommended drugs according to the national guidelines.

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Aged
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Diabetes Mellitus / drug therapy
  • Drug Utilization
  • Education
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Guidelines as Topic
  • Health Services Accessibility / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Hypolipidemic Agents / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Myocardial Infarction / drug therapy*
  • Myocardial Infarction / epidemiology*
  • Odds Ratio
  • Population
  • Sex Factors
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Sweden / epidemiology


  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Hypolipidemic Agents