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African journal of medicine and medical sciences

Drug utilization and blood pressure control in a population where antihypertensives are given free: effect of policy change.


PMID 23672098

Abstract

To assess the current utilization pattern of antihypertensive drugs and blood pressure (BP) control among treated hypertensives where there is a change in payment policy for antihypertensive drugs and to compare with a previous study when drugs were given free in the same setting. A cross sectional study of hypertensive subjects being followed-up in the medical clinic of International Institute for Tropical Agriculture. One hundred and sixteen consecutive hypertensive subjects aged 50.9+/-8.6 years were studied. Eighty two (70.7%) of the subjects were fully controlled on the treatment, while 15 (12.9%) were not controlled at all. Systolic BP alone was controlled in 14 (12.1%) while in 5 (4.3%) subjects the Diastolic BP alone was controlled. Systolic BP was 133.4+/-14.0 (106-186) mmHg, while diastolic was 83.5+/-9.1 (59-110) mmHg. Salt use correlated with and was predictive of BP control, r = 0.336 and r2 = 3.383, p=0.001. Frequency of drug use: Diuretics 79.8%, calcium channel blockers (CCB) 51.8%, alpha-methyldopa 21.9%, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors 17.5%, beta-blockers 15.8%, vasodilator 1.8%, and prazosin 0.9%. In this study, twice as many patients as in the previous study had fully controlled blood pressure in spite of the new policy of co-payment. Health education and patient counselling along with availability of free drug could have contributed to improve adherence to antihypertensive drugs. Physicians managing hypertensive patients should pay attention not only to adequate dosing and appropriate combination of drugs but also to health education and patient counselling.

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