Starting and staying on preventive medication for cardiovascular disease

Curr Opin Cardiol. 2012 Sep;27(5):533-41. doi: 10.1097/HCO.0b013e328356dae5.


Purpose of review: To synthesize the qualitative research literature regarding medication use to prevent cardiovascular disease in order to explain the variation in healthcare professional (HCP) and patient behaviours, and to evaluate the implications for practice.

Recent findings: The decision to start preventive medication is affected by the patient-HCP relationship and by the design of the service. Both HCPs and patients are influenced by their understanding of the evidence regarding the value of preventive interventions; their values and preferences; and their sociopolitical context and the organizational structure of their practice environment. The design of their service affects uptake as a consequence of its impact on clinical communication and the extent to which the service is tailored to the needs of the local community. Continuing to take prescribed medication is affected by both contextual and practical factors. Recommendations for practice can be split into those with a clinical focus and those with a patient or community focus. More sophisticated analyses have moved beyond recommendations for patient and HCP education, and address constraints in the organization of clinical services and the social context of evidence translation.

Summary: Qualitative health research provides important insights into the experience of and context for decision making about medication prescription and adherence that can help efforts to prevent cardiovascular disease.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Cardiovascular Diseases / drug therapy
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Decision Making*
  • Health Personnel
  • Humans
  • Medication Adherence*
  • Preventive Medicine / methods*
  • Qualitative Research
  • Research Design