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Most Anti-Smoking Med Prescriptions Unfilled in Older Adults After Heart Attack

November 21, 2016

A study recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Heart Association found that many older adult smokers who have had a heart attack fail to fill prescriptions for medications designed to help them quit smoking.

The new study was led by Dr Neha Pagidipati, Duke University Medical Center (Durham, NC). It included nearly 2400 heart attack survivors older than 65 who were either current or recent smokers and were treated at 377 US hospitals.
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During their hospital stay, the patients were advised by health staff to quit smoking. Nearly all of them received prescriptions for smoking-cessation medications before being discharged from the hospital. But, the study found that only about one in 10 actually filled a prescription for the smoking-cessation medications bupropion (Wellbutrin) or varenicline (Chantix) within 90 days of leaving the hospital.

The older the patient, the less likely they were to fill the prescription, the researchers noted. And, men and minorities were less apt to try the anti-smoking aids than women or white patients.

Director Gisele Wolf-Klein, MD, Northwell Health (Great Neck, NY) reviewed the new findings and said in a news release, “Older adults are particularly concerned with taking too many medications, both because of the increasing and often unsurmountable monthly costs of their prescribed drug regimen, and because of the difficulty of remembering when to take them.”

The findings show that much more needs to be done during their hospital stay to help heart attack patients quit smoking, the researchers said. —Amanda Del Signore

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