MEDICATIONS such as aspirin and statins that have commonly been prescribed to prevent heart attacks also help lessen their severity, medical researchers in China revealed in a research study published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Cardioprotective medications such as aspirin, statins and beta-blockers are prescribed to patients who have high risk of a heart attack because they reduce the chance of a first or repeat event, explained first author Dr. Li Min, a researcher at Peking University Health Science Center in Beijing.
“Until now, it was not known whether these drugs provided any benefit to patients who develop a heart attack despite taking the medication,” Li said.
The observational study, which included nearly 15,000 patients, assessed the relationship between prior use of preventive medications—including aspirin, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and receptor blockers, statins, and beta-blockers—and in-hospital outcomes of patients with acute coronary syndromes (ACS) such as heart attacks.
Among the patients, about 7,500 had a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD) and were included in the study with a repeat ACS event, while the remainder had no history of CVD and entered the study with a first ACS event.
According to the study, prior use of each medication was significantly associated with less severity of disease and less arrhythmia after adjusting the results for multiple confounding factors. The findings were similar in those with or without a history of CVD.
“We know that many heart attack patients stop taking their preventive medications. We need to do more to encourage adherence, and to help patients adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors,” said Professor Michel Komajda, course director of the European Society of Cardiology program in China.