Background: Statins substantially reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and are generally well-tolerated. Despite this, many patients discontinue therapy. A better understanding of the characteristics of current and former statin users may be helpful for formulating strategies to improve long-term adherence.
Objective: The Understanding Statin Use in America and Gaps in Education (USAGE) survey assessed the attitudes, beliefs, practices, and behavior of current and former statin users.
Methods: Individuals 18 years or older who reported a history of high cholesterol and current or former statin use were identified within a registered consumer panel cohort in the United States and invited to participate in an Internet survey.
Results: Of the 10,138 respondents, 8918 (88%) were current statin users and 1220 (12%) were former users. Participants (mean age 61 years) were predominantly white (92%), female (61%), of middle income (median $44,504/yr), and had health insurance (93%). Among current users, 95% took a statin alone, and 70% had not missed a dose in the past month. Although ∼70% reported that their physicians had explained the importance of cholesterol levels for their heart health former users were less satisfied with the discussions (65% vs. 83%, P < .05). Muscle-related side effects were reported by 60% and 25% of former and current users, respectively (P < .05). Nearly half of all respondents switched statins at least once. The primary reason for switching by current users was cost (32%) and the primary reason for discontinuation was side effects (62%).
Conclusions: This survey provides important insights into behavior and attitudes among current and former statin users and the results suggest that more effective dialogue between healthcare providers and patients may increase persistence of statin use, particularly when the patient has concerns about side effects and drug costs.
Copyright © 2012 National Lipid Association. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.