Optimal drug therapy for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI) is well described in the medical literature. However, data on the actual pharmacologic management of patients surviving AMI at academic hospitals is unavailable. The purpose of this study was to document treatment profiles in 500 patients surviving AMI at 12 academic hospitals in the United States. These profiles were compared with established guidelines and were evaluated for trends. Overall, thrombolytics (streptokinase > or = tissue-type plasminogen activator) were administered in 29% of the patients, with a greater proportion of patients receiving beta-blockers than calcium channel antagonists in the initial 72 hours (61% vs 40%; p < 0.005) and at discharge (51% vs 35%; p < 0.005). Further, women were less likely than men to receive thrombolytic therapy (odds ratio [OR] = 0.61; confidence interval [CI], 0.54 to 0.69) or beta-blocker therapy within the first 72 hours (OR = 0.61; CI, 0.55 to 0.67) or at hospital discharge (OR = 0.53; CI, 0.48 to 0.58). Overall, improvements could still be made in the number of patients who receive thrombolytic and acute and chronic beta-blocker therapies after AMI, particularly in women. Changes in treatment profiles may be a reflection of the publication of large clinical trials.