Introduction: Antiplatelet therapy needs to be administered life-long in patients with peripheral arterial disease (PAD). Our study was aimed at 1) the analysis of non-persistence with antiplatelet medication in older PAD patients and 2) identification of patient- and medication-related characteristics associated with non-persistence. Methods: The study data was retrieved from the database of the General Health Insurance Company. The study cohort of 9,178 patients aged ≥ 65 years and treated with antiplatelet medications was selected from 21,433 patients in whom PAD was newly diagnosed between 01/2012 and 12/2012. Patients with a 6 months treatment gap without antiplatelet medication prescription were classified as non-persistent. Characteristics associated with non-persistence were identified using the Cox regression. Results: At the end of the 5 years follow-up, 3,032 (33.0%) patients were non-persistent. Age, history of ischemic stroke or myocardial infarction, clopidogrel or combination of aspirin with clopidogrel used at the index date, higher co-payment, general practitioner as index prescriber and higher overall number of medications were associated with persistence, whereas female sex, atrial fibrillation, anxiety disorders, bronchial asthma/chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, being a new antiplatelet medication user (therapy initiated in association with PAD diagnosis), and use of anticoagulants or antiarrhythmic agents were associated with non-persistence. Conclusion: In patients with an increased probability of non-persistence, an increased attention should be paid to improvement of persistence.
Keywords: antiplatelet medications; anxiety disorders; atrial fibrillation; discontinuation; non-persistence; peripheral arterial disease.
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