Too Many Stroke Patients are Missing an Important Medication


The May 27th online issue of Stroke: Journal of the American Heart Association reported that more than 16% of stroke patients are being discharged without a potentially life-saving medication.  These medications are called statins and they are generally used to reduce levels of the artery clogging cholesterol, LDL.  Common names for the statins are Lipitor, Zocor, and Crestor.

Dr. Bruce Ovbiagle, associate professor of neurology and director at the UCLA Stroke Prevention Program, UCLA Stroke Center and Department of Neurology stated that about one in ten stroke patients experience a second stroke within a week.  If statin therapy is started immediately at the hospital, a second stroke could possibly be prevented.

The good news is that there has been an increase in the number of patients being given prescriptions for the statin medicines between 2005 and 2007.  There has been an increase from 76% to nearly 85% of patients receiving statins.

There did seem to be a disparity in the type of patient and geographic location of the patient receiving the statin prescriptions.  Women had a 13% lower rate of receiving the medication than men and hospitals in the South were 34% less likely to discharge a patient on a statin than hospitals in the West.

If you or someone you know has suffered a stroke, check your medication list and be sure that a statin (Lipitor, Zocor, Crestor, or one of the others) is on the list.  If not, discuss it with your healthcare provider!  There are certain medical conditions that would prevent a person from taking a statin medication.

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