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Background The burden of cardiovascular disease is increasing, with many people treated for multiple cardiovascular conditions. We examined persistence and adherence to medicines for cardiovascular disease treatment or prevention in Australia. Methods and Results Using national dispensing claims for a 10% random sample of people, we identified adults (≥18 years) initiating antihypertensives, statins, oral anticoagulants, or antiplatelets in 2018. We measured persistence to therapy using a 60-day permissible gap, and adherence using the proportion of days covered up to 3 years from initiation, and from first to last dispensing. We reported outcomes by age, sex, and cardiovascular multimedicine use. We identified 83 687 people initiating antihypertensives (n=37 941), statins (n=34 582), oral anticoagulants (n=15 435), or antiplatelets (n=7726). Around one-fifth of people discontinued therapy within 90 days, with 50% discontinuing within the first year. Although many people achieved high adherence (proportion of days covered ≥80%) within the first year, these rates were higher when measured from first to last dispensing (40.5% and 53.2% for statins; 55.6% and 80.5% for antiplatelets, respectively). Persistence was low at 3 years (17.5% antiplatelets to 37.3% anticoagulants). Persistence and adherence increased with age, with minor differences by sex. Over one-third of people had cardiovascular multimedicine use (reaching 92% among antiplatelet users): they had higher persistence and adherence than people using medicines from only 1 cardiovascular group. Conclusions Persistence to cardiovascular medicines decreases substantially following initiation, but adherence remains high while people are using therapy. Cardiovascular multimedicine use is common, and people using multiple cardiovascular medicines have higher rates of persistence and adherence.

Original publication




Journal article


Journal of the American Heart Association

Publication Date