(HealthDay News) — Prescribing generic instead of brand-name statins may improve adherence to therapy and cardiovascular outcomes in Medicare beneficiaries, according to research published in the September 16 issue of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Joshua J. Gagne, PharmD, ScD, of Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues conducted an observational, propensity score-matched cohort study of 90,111 Medicare beneficiaries, aged ≥65 years, to assess adherence and cardiovascular outcomes associated with initiation of therapy with a generic versus a brand-name statin.

The researchers found that 93% of patients initiated therapy with a generic statin and 7% initiated therapy with a brand-name statin. Adherence to therapy was higher for the generic group than the brand-name group (average proportion of days covered up to one year, 77% vs. 71%). The generic group, compared with the brand-name group, was less likely to experience an adverse cardiovascular outcome, as measured by a composite outcome of hospitalization for an acute coronary syndrome or stroke and all-cause mortality (hazard ratio, 0.92; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.86–0.99). The absolute difference between the groups in composite outcome was −1.53 events per 100 person-years (95 percent CI, −2.69–−0.19 events per 100 person-years).

“Although these findings require confirmation in other populations, they add to our understanding of the comparative effectiveness of generic medications and the importance of economic factors in medication adherence,” write the authors of an accompanying editorial.

Teva Pharmaceuticals funded the study. Several authors disclosed financial ties to CVS Caremark.

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