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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Adherence with statins in a real-life setting is better when associated cardiovascular risk factors increase: a cohort study

Philippe Latry1, Mathieu Molimard23, Bernard Dedieu1, Thierry Couffinhal245, Bernard Bégaud23 and Karin Martin-Latry235*

Author Affiliations

1 Direction Régionale du Service Médical de l'Assurance Maladie d'Aquitaine, Cnam-TS, Bordeaux, (33000), France

2 Univ. de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, (33000), France

3 U 657, INSERM, Bordeaux, (33000), France

4 Centre d'exploration, de prévention et de traitement de l'athérosclérose, hôpital Haut-Lévêque, Pessac, (33600), France

5 U 1034, INSERM, Pessac, (33600), France

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BMC Cardiovascular Disorders 2011, 11:46  doi:10.1186/1471-2261-11-46

Published: 26 July 2011



While the factors for poor adherence for treatment with statins have been highlighted, the impact of their combination on adherence is not clear.


To estimate adherence for statins and whether it differs according to the number of cardiovascular risk factors.


A cohort study was conducted using data from the main French national health insurance system reimbursement database. Newly treated patients with statins between September 1 and December 31, 2004 were included. Patients were followed up 15 months. The cohort was split into three groups according to their number of additional cardiovascular risk factors that included age and gender, diabetes mellitus and cardiovascular disease (using co-medications as a proxy). Adherence was assessed for each group by using four parameters: (i) proportion of days covered by statins, (ii) regularity of the treatment over time, (iii) persistence, and (iv) the refill delay.


16,397 newly treated patients were identified. Of these statin users, 21.7% did not have additional cardiovascular risk factors. Thirty-one percent had two cardiovascular risk factors and 47% had at least three risk factors. All the parameters showed a sub-optimal adherence whatever the group: days covered ranged from 56% to 72%, regularity ranged from 23% to 33% and persistence ranged from 44% to 59%, but adherence was better for those with a higher number of cardiovascular risk factors.


The results confirm that long-term drug treatments are a difficult challenge, particularly in patients at lower risk and invite to the development of therapeutic education.

Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors; Risk factors; Medication adherence; Databases, Factual; Pharmacoepidemiology; Insurance, Health, Reimbursement