Pharmacological treatment patterns in heart failure: a population-based cohort study

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2020 Jan;76(1):97-106. doi: 10.1007/s00228-019-02758-2. Epub 2019 Oct 21.


Background: Although the efficacy and safety of existing therapies of heart failure (HF) have been demonstrated in clinical trials, little is known about the treatment patterns in clinical practice, especially in France.

Objectives: To describe the treatment initiation patterns and the subsequent treatment changes among HF patients, in the first year following an incident hospitalization for HF, in a French real-world setting.

Methods: A cohort of patients aged ≥ 40 years, with an incident hospitalization for HF between 01/01/2008 and 31/12/2013, was identified in the 1/97th permanent random sample of the French nationwide claims database and followed 1 year. HF drug exposure-beta blockers (BB), angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs), aldosterone antagonists (AA), diuretics, digoxin, or ivabradine-was assessed quarterly using a Proportion of Days Covered ≥ 66% (≥ 60 days out of the 90 days of the quarter), by considering HF drugs individually or in combination. Drug changes were assessed between each quarter.

Results: Between 2008 and 2013, 7387 patients were included. Their mean age was 77.7 years (± 12.0 years) and 51.6% were women. During the follow-up, 24.4% died, 20% were not exposed to any HF treatment, 48.3 to 43.2% had diuretics, one third had BB or ACEI, 9% had ARB or AA, 6% had digoxin, and 2% had ivabradine. The main change occurred between the first and the second quarter for 53.1% of the initially untreated patients.

Conclusion: This study provides valuable information on treatment patterns after an initial hospitalization for HF.

Keywords: Claims database; Heart failure; Treatment patterns.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Cardiovascular Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Clinical Protocols / standards*
  • Cohort Studies
  • Digoxin / therapeutic use
  • Diuretics / therapeutic use
  • Drug Substitution
  • Female
  • France
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Hospitalization
  • Humans
  • Ivabradine / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Time Factors


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Angiotensin Receptor Antagonists
  • Angiotensin-Converting Enzyme Inhibitors
  • Cardiovascular Agents
  • Diuretics
  • Mineralocorticoid Receptor Antagonists
  • Ivabradine
  • Digoxin