Cholesterol- and blood-pressure-lowering drug use for secondary cardiovascular prevention in 2004-2013 Europe

Eur J Prev Cardiol. 2017 Mar;24(4):426-436. doi: 10.1177/2047487316676906. Epub 2016 Oct 31.


Background Suboptimal use of cardiovascular prevention medications has been reported. We report recent trends in secondary cardiovascular disease prevention drug use in Europe. Design We used the 2004-2013 data from the Survey of Health, Ageing and Retirement in Europe (SHARE), a large longitudinal cohort study in middle-aged and elderly Europeans. Methods Cross-sectional and panel data logistic regression models were used to study trends in cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering drug use and effects of participant characteristics on the likelihood of drug use among participants with histoty of cardiovascular disease in SHARE. Results In SHARE 21,388 participants reported history of cardiovascular disease and provided data on cholesterol- and blood pressure-lowering drug use. At initial report, 40% and 60% of them used cholesterol- or blood pressure-lowering drugs, respectively. Increasing cross-sectional time trends were observed for both medication classes (odds ratios of use in 2013 vs. 2004, 1.6 (95% confidence interval 1.4-1.7) and 1.5 (1.4-1.6), respectively). However, among participants with multiple observations, the use of both classes declined over time (2013 vs. 2004 odds ratio 0.63 (0.51-0.77) and 0.68 (0.55-0.84), respectively; both trend p < 0.001), and with increasing duration since last cardiovascular event (odds ratio 0.74 (0.60-0.91), trend p = 0.01 and odds ratio 0.82 (0.66-1.03), trend p = 0.06, respectively for durations of nine years or more versus less than one year). Among people with history of cardiovascular disease, those obese, retired or with hypercholesterolaemia, hypertension, worse self-perceived health, and, in the case of lipid-lowering medication, with diabetes, were more likely to use these medications. Conclusions Despite moderately increasing cross-sectional time trends, the use of secondary cardiovascular disease prevention drugs remains low in Europe with substantial discontinuation over time and with increasing duration from an acute cardiovascular event.

Keywords: Cardiovascular disease; blood pressure drug therapy; cholesterol-lowering drug therapy; medication compliance.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Anticholesteremic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Antihypertensive Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Cardiovascular Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Europe
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Secondary Prevention*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires


  • Anticholesteremic Agents
  • Antihypertensive Agents