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Failure to take cholesterol medications may result in heavy economic toll

Category: Heart Health and Cholesterol

Many patients who receive unhealthy cholesterol test results are put on statin medications. While these drugs do an effective job of managing blood lipid levels, a startling number of individuals who are supposed to be taking them do not follow through with their prescribed treatment. A new study suggests that this may have major economic and public health consequences.

Researchers from Brigham and Women's Hospital found after study a group of patients with high cholesterol for a period of 18 months that those who did not take their medications on a regular basis were hospitalized much more frequently. This resulted in significantly higher healthcare costs associated with treating them.

Those who took their statin medications faithfully had healthcare costs that were $944 lower than those who did not during the 18-month study period.

"As healthcare providers, we must engage our patients about the importance of medication adherence," said JoAnne Foody, who led the investigation.

She added that one out of every three patients with high cholesterol has poor adherence to their prescribed statin therapy.

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