The state of statin prescribing: Location matters

Research we're watching

Published: November, 2019

If you've had a heart attack, national guidelines strongly recommend taking a high-intensity statin to prevent a second heart attack. But a study of Medicare recipients finds that where you live may affect your chances of receiving a statin prescription.

People living in New England were most likely to receive a high-intensity statin (74%), while those from the West South Central states (such as Arkansas, Oklahoma, and Louisiana) were the least likely (41%). The data came from nearly 140,000 people ages 66 and older who were hospitalized for a heart attack from 2011 to 2015. The findings were published online July 24 by JAMA Cardiology.

Geography was by far the strongest predictor of statin-prescribing habits. But people treated in hospitals with fewer than 100 beds were less likely to be prescribed a high-intensity statin than those in hospitals with 500 or more beds. Women were also less likely than men to get high-intensity statins.

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