Objectives: To determine patterns in antilipidemic drug prescriptions among a group of patients covered by the General Social Security System (Sistema General de Seguridad Social) in Colombia.
Methods: A descriptive, observational study was conducted of 41 580 hyperlipidemics of both sexes, who were over 20 years of age, undergoing treatment from at least April to June 2006, and were residents of one of 19 cities in Colombia. A database was created to track prescription data collected by the pharmaceutical company that dispenses medications to the patients.
Results: The mean age was 58.4+/-13.5 years; 58.9% of the participants were women. Of the total number of patients, 95.6% were receiving monotherapy, while 4.4% were receiving two or more antilipidemics. Prescriptions were ranked as follows: statins (70.9%), fibrates (27.5%), bile acid sequestrant resins (0.9%), and others (0.7%), all at low dosage levels. The most common therapy combinations were lovastatin + gemfibrozil (n = 1 568), cholestyramine + gemfibrozil (n = 92), and cholestyramine + lovastatin (n = 78). Comedications most frequently prescribed were: antihypertensive (60.9%), antiinflammatory (56.5%), antiulcer (22.9%), and antidiabetes drugs (20.6%), and acetylsalicylic acid (ASA, 3.8%). Antianginals and ASA were being underused, while antiinflamatories and antiulcer drugs were being overused.
Conclusions: Dyslipidemia is a primary risk factor for developing coronary heart disease and stroke, frequent causes of morbidity and mortality in Colombia and the world. All of the antilipidemics are being used at lower-than-recommended dosage levels. Clearly there is a need for creating educational strategies to address these prescribing habits and for exploring clinical results of the pharmaceuticals studied.