(HealthDay News) – For patients with or at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD), a fixed-dose combination (FDC) strategy for antiplatelet, statin, and blood pressure lowering medications is associated with improved medication adherence and with reductions in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), according to a study published in the Sept. 4 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Simon Thom, MB, BS, MD, from Imperial College London, and colleagues examined whether FDC delivery of aspirin, statin, and two blood-pressure lowering medications improves long-term adherence and two major cardiovascular risk factors (SBP and LDL-C) compared with usual care. A total of 2,004 participants with established CVD or at risk of CVD were randomized in a 1:1 ratio to FDC-based strategy or usual care.

During a median follow-up of 15 months, the researchers found that FDC correlated with improved adherence vs. usual care (86% vs. 65%; relative risk of being adherent, 1.33), with concurrent decreases observed in SBP and LDL-C at the end of the study. There was evidence of larger benefits for patients with lower adherence at baseline, although there was consistency of effects across predefined subgroups. The groups did not differ significantly in terms of serious adverse events or cardiovascular events.

“In summary, among patients with or at high risk of CVD, the use of an FDC strategy for BP, cholesterol, and platelet control compared with usual care resulted in significantly improved medication adherence at 15 months,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to the pharmaceutical industry.

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