• High-Risk Cardiovascular Disease Patients Fare No Better Whether They Diligently Adhere To Medication Regimens Or Not

    Posted August 16, 2013: by Bill Sardi

    In the looming era of the Affordable Care Act, where all medical technologies must be validated scientifically or billings for medicines, devices or services will not be fully reimbursed, modern medicine is struggling to substantiate its many therapies.

    An example is a recent study published in The American Journal of Medicine. Researchers attempted to blame the inability to demonstrate reduction in cardiovascular death over a period of 4 years on poor patient compliance.

    Less than half of these high-risk patients (48.2%) fully adhered to medication regimens.

    The difference in cardiovascular death between the fully adherent and non-adherent patients was statistically magnified to make it appear the effect of medications were large. Among 29,764 patients, 25 patients needed to be treated to prevent 1 death.

    There were 6132 patients who remained alive (9509 died or 60.8%) among 15,641 consistent non-adherers and 5797 who survived (8326 died or 59.0%) among 14,123 adherent patients. The difference in hard numbers was less than 2%.

    Yet the study concluded that “the lack of adherence was associated with an elevated risk of clinical outcomes after 4 years.” The researchers claimed “long-term adherence… may help to realize the full potential of these treatments in a high-risk patient population.”

    Medication adherence didn’t seem to make much difference as the vast majority of the patients died after 4 years and nothing was said about the side effects of the drugs themselves causing the lack of adherence.

    If anyone dare call this science, when it is statistical deception, then how do we ever get to determination of what does save patients’ lives?

    The US Department of Health & Human Services recently launched its “Million Hearts” initiative that aims to prevent 1 million heart attacks and strokes over the next 5 years. Whether this type of pseudoscience will be accepted by public health authorities as an excuse for not meeting that goal is unknown.

    Diligent use of blood thinners (aspirin), statin cholesterol-lowering and blood-pressure lowering drugs does not appear to be any more effective than low-compliance. Modern medicine appears to be stretching science to validate therapies prior to implementation of the Affordable Care Act. ©2013 Bill Sardi, Knowledge of Health, Inc.

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