Introduction: Statins are essential drugs for high cardiovascular disease (CVD) risk management; however, there is still low adherence to good clinical practice guidelines for statin use at the primary care level in low- and middle-income countries. This study aimed to test whether a complex intervention targeting physicians improves treatment and control of hypercholesterolemia among patients with moderate to high CVD risk in Argentina.
Study design: Cluster RCT.
Setting/participants: Ten primary care centers from the public healthcare system of Argentina.
Intervention: Primary care physicians in the intervention group received an educational program with three main components: (1) an intensive 2-day training workshop; (2) educational outreach visits; and (3) a mobile health application installed on the physician's smartphones.
Main outcome measures: Reduction in mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level, reduction in mean Framingham risk score, proportion of patients receiving an appropriate statin dose, and mean annual number of primary care center visits.
Results: Data were analyzed in 2017-2018. Between April 2015 and April 2016, a total of 357 participants were enrolled (179 patients in the intervention group and 178 in the control group). The global follow-up rate was 97.2%. At the end of the follow-up period, there was no difference in low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels in any of the follow-up points among the groups. Mean CVD risk had a significant net difference in the first 6 months in the intervention group versus the control group (-4.0, 95% CI = -6.5, -1.5). At the end of follow-up, there was an absolute 41.5% higher rate of participants receiving an appropriate statin dose in the intervention group versus the control group.
Conclusions: Although the intervention did not reach a reduction in cholesterol levels, it had a significant positive impact on the promotion of adequate use of clinical practice guidelines.
Trial registration: This study is registered at www.clinicaltrials.gov NCT02380911.
Copyright © 2019 American Journal of Preventive Medicine. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.