Secondary prevention of coronary artery disease markedly reduces cardiovascular mortality and non-fatal endpoints. Outpatient care of subjects with coronary artery disease has been assessed in several European countries, but no current data is available for Switzerland.
A random sample of office-based physicians across Switzerland recorded current drug prescription of outpatients with coronary artery disease in the years 2000/2001 by means of a mail questionnaire. We assessed treatment frequencies according to different patient characteristics.
565 patients were included (mean age 68 +/- 11 years, 75% male). There was no evidence for differences in drug utilisation among the regions. Drug prescription rates for antithrombotic agents, beta-blockers, ACE-inhibitors/angiotensin receptor blockers and lipid lowering drugs were 91%, 58%, 50% and 63% respectively. Lower treatment rates were observed among patients >70 years and in those without a history of myocardial infarction or coronary revascularisation. Forty-nine percent of the patients had a blood pressure >140/>90, and 60% had lipid readings above the intervention cut-off according to the Swiss recommendations. Among those without a history of myocardial infarction or coronary revascularisation, the respective figures were 60% and 80%.
Compared to former surveys evidence based drug prescription has improved in Switzerland. Despite this, therapeutic goals for cholesterol levels and blood pressure are not being reached in a large proportion of patients. A high risk group for under use of evidence based drugs are patients without a history of myocardial infarction or coronary revascularisation.