Background — The utility of ezetimibe in preventing cardiovascular outcomes remains controversial. To guide future assessments of the effectiveness of ezetimibe in routine care, we evaluated how this medication has been prescribed to high-risk older adults in Ontario, Canada.
Methods — Using linked healthcare databases, we carried out a population-based cohort study of older adults who were discharged from hospital following an acute myocardial infarction from 2005 until 2014. We ascertained the rate of ezetimibe initiation within 6 months of their discharge. We also examined the characteristics of new ezetimibe prescriptions, as well as the predictors for receiving the therapy.
Results — Seventy one thousand one hundred twenty five older adults were hospitalized for an acute myocardial infarction between 2005 and 2014 (mean age 78.36 ± 7.71 years, 45.8% women). Only 1230 (1.7%) patients were newly prescribed ezetimibe within 6 months of their hospital discharge. The median duration of continuous use of ezetimibe was 1.2 years (IQR 0.3–3.5 years). Ezetimibe was prescribed more often to patients living in rural areas, with a history of coronary artery disease, on high-potency statins, and, with evidence of healthcare follow-up after hospital discharge. Prescriptions were less common in men, older patients, those living in long-term care facilities, those with a history of congestive heart failure, and those who were hospitalized for a myocardial infarction in more recent years.
Conclusions — Real-world drug effectiveness studies can help to complement the findings of randomized controlled trials. In our region however, only a small proportion of high-risk older adults received a prescription for ezetimibe following a myocardial infarction. Clinical and research implications are discussed.
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