Go to content

Primary prevention drug therapy: can it meet patients’ requirements for reduced risk?


The objective of this study was to identify, in primary prevention, patients whose 'required risk reduction' (ReqRR) is greater than the 'achievable risk reduction' (ARR) that cholesterol-lowering or antihypertensive medication could provide. Individualized estimates of 10-year coronary heart disease or stroke risk were derived for 66 hypercholesterolemic (HC) and 64 hypertensive (HT) patients without symptomatic cardiovascular disease. These estimates were used in trade-off tasks identifying each individual's ReqRR. Then individual ARRs were estimated (in HC patients by assuming total cholesterol/high density lipoprotein ratio reductions to 5.0; in HT patients by assuming systolic blood pressure reductions to 120 mmHg). 12 (18%) HC and 12 (19%) HT subjects would refuse medication regardless of the risk reduction offered. Of the remaining patients, 15/54 (28%) HC and 19/52 (37%) HT subjects were 'over- requirers,' in that their ReqRR/ARR ratio was 1.5. There may be a notable proportion of patients whose ReqRR is considerably greater than what is achievable, implying that decision aids may help individuals clarify preferences about accepting/refusing medication for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease.



Llewellyn-Thomas HA, Paterson JM, Carter JA, Basinski A, Myers MG, Hardacre GD, Dunn EV, D'Agostino RB, Wolf PA, Naylor CD. Med Decis Making. 2002; 22(4):326-39.

View Source

Contributing ICES Scientists

Associated Sites