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"Take heart drugs as prescribed, live longer"


Source: CBC.CA

Published: 08 Jan 2022

Category: Other

Rating: (3 stars)

what they said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Drugs to prevent another heart attack do help patients to live longer if taken regularly, a new Canadian study suggests.

Each year, about 65,000 Canadians suffer a heart attack and nearly 20,000 die. The numbers are starting to decline, but doctors weren't sure if that was thanks to new medications or lifestyle changes.

It may seem obvious that drugs taken after a first attack help to prevent a second one, but until now, there was no real evidence...

The original article can be found at:

how did it rate? (more information)

Criteria Rating
Total Score 6 of 10
Availability of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Novelty of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Disease Mongering Satisfactory (?)
Treatment Options Not Satisfactory (?)
Costs of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Evidence Satisfactory (?)
Quantification of Benefits of Treatment Satisfactory (?)
Harms of Treatment Not Satisfactory (?)
Sources of Information Satisfactory (?)
Relies on Press Release Not Applicable
Quantification of harms of treatment Not Satisfactory (?)

what we said (Hover the mouse cursor over underlined words for more info)

Large, longitudinal studies are significant contributions to the literature. There is no mention, however, regarding adverse events and whether these events were related to non-compliance. The clinical implications of this data cannot be assessed without this critical, missing information.

We also learn that the risk of dying increases with those drugs occasionally (12%) and among those who stopped taking the drugs altogether (25% higher) but we don't learn what the baseline risk was so these relative risk increases are difficult to put into context.

The final question we are left with is this: is there something about the drug-taking habits of people who keep taking their drugs (are they more likely to exercise?) that makes them live longer, or is it the drugs?

We note that in another report of this trial the researcher said that "other lifestyle changes will bring additional health benefits, so patients should not see prescription drugs as a panacea," perhaps a more balanced and nuanced message to leave with the reader.

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