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Open Access Highly Accessed Open Badges Research article

Association between adherence to calcium-channel blocker and statin medications and likelihood of cardiovascular events among US managed care enrollees

Richard H Chapman1*, Jason Yeaw1 and Craig S Roberts2

Author Affiliations

1 US Health Economics & Outcomes Research, IMS Health, Falls Church, VA, USA

2 Global Outcomes Research, Pfizer Inc, New York, NY, USA

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2010, 10:29  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-10-29

Published: 17 June 2010



Prior studies have found that patients taking single-pill amlodipine/atorvastatin (SPAA) have greater likelihood of adherence at 6 months than those taking 2-pill calcium-channel blocker and statin combinations (CCB/statin). This study examines whether this adherence benefit results in fewer cardiovascular (CV) events.


A retrospective cohort study was conducted using administrative claims data from the IMS LifeLink: US Health Plan Claims database, identifying adults already taking CCB or statin (but not both) who had an index event of either initiating treatment with SPAA or adding CCB to statin (or vice versa) between April 1, 2004 to August 31, 2005. Inclusion criteria included age 18+ years, continuously enrolled for minimum of 6 months prior and 18 months following treatment initiation, >1 diagnosis of hypertension, and no prescription claims for SPAA or added CCB or statin for 6 months prior. Exclusion criteria included >1 claim with missing or invalid days supplied, age 65+ years and not enrolled in Medicare Advantage, or history of prior CV events, cancer diagnosis, or chronic renal failure. The primary outcome measure was the rate of CV events (myocardial infarction, heart failure, angina, other ischemic heart disease, stroke, peripheral vascular disease, or revascularization procedure) from 6 to 18 months following index date, analyzed at three levels: 1) all adherent vs. non-adherent patients, 2) SPAA vs. dual-pill patients (regardless of adherence level), and 3) adherent SPAA, adherent dual-pill, and non-adherent SPAA patients vs. non-adherent dual-pill patients.


Of 1,537 SPAA patients, 56.5% were adherent at 6 months, compared with 21.4% of the 17,910 CCB/statin patients (p < 0.001). Logistic regression found SPAA patients more likely to be adherent (OR = 4.7, p < 0.001) than CCB/statin patients. In Cox proportional hazards models, being adherent to either regimen was associated with significantly lower risk of CV event (HR = 0.77, p = 0.003). A similar effect was seen for SPAA vs. CCB/statin patients (HR = 0.68, p = 0.02). In a combined model, the risk of CV events was significantly lower for adherent CCB/statin patients (HR = 0.79, p = 0.01) and adherent SPAA patients (HR = 0.61, p = 0.03) compared to non-adherent CCB/statin patients.


Patients receiving SPAA rather than a 2-pill CCB/statin regimen are more likely to be adherent. In turn, adherence to CCB and statin medications is associated with lower risk of CV events in primary prevention patients.