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  • 1 June 2018 to 31 December 2018
  • Awards: Pump-priming Awards

People with cardiovascular disease are at high risk of suffering similar events. However, despite strong evidence regarding the use of effective cardiovascular medications to reduce the risk of future events (also known as ‘secondary prevention’), many high-risk individuals do not use them. The reasons for this are poorly understood and, consequently, there are few effective approaches to tackle this problem.  Trials to improve uptake of and adherence to cardiovascular medications have been small and have tested approaches that cannot be delivered at scale.

In this project, routine healthcare data from NHS Scotland will be used to study the treatment pathway for secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease. We will examine three stages of the treatment pathway: (1) prescription of recommended medicines by doctors, (2) initiation of these medicines by patients, and (3) adherence to these medicines over time. The roles of socio-economic, patient- and doctor-related factors will be investigated and likely implications for risk of subsequent cardiovascular events will be calculated.

The study will identify population groups who are more likely to stop taking proven cardiovascular medication and provide insights into reasons for this behaviour. Such information will help us to design better approaches aimed at improving adherence to these medicines.