An average Indian suffering from heart attack or stroke is seven times less likely to receive the inexpensive aspirin – the most commonly used anti-platelet drug – and 20 times less likely to receive statins than an average Canadian.
In a first-of-its-kind study to quantify use of effective low-cost drug treatments for heart disease and stroke – anti-platelet drugs mainly aspirin, Beta blockers, angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or angiotensin-receptor blockers (ARBs) and statins – scientists have found that four out of five patients from low-income countries like India, Bangladesh and Pakistan “reported receiving none of these essential drugs”. Presented at the European Society of Cardiology Congress in Paris and published in the British medical journal Lancet, the study involved 1, 53, 996 adults from 17 countries .
Around 5,650 participants reported prior coronary heart disease and 2,292 stroke. Around 29,000 Indians were part of the study. It found that the use of preventive drugs was very low. Anti-platelet drugs like aspirin were taken by only a quarter of individuals with cardiovascular disease, beta blockers by 17.4%, ACE inhibitors or ARBs (19.5%) and statins (14.6%). In India, among the participants who was suffering from coronary heart disease (683), only 11.6% were taking anti-platelet drugs, 11.9% were taking beta blockers, 6.4% were in ACE inhibitors, 21% were on blood pressure lowering drugs and less than 5% on statins.
Among those who had suffered a stroke (316), only 3.8% were on anti-platelet drugs, 7% on beta blockers, less than 2% on ACE inhibitors, 11% on BP lowering drugs and less than 1% on statins. Drug use was highest in high-income countries, where about two-thirds of patients were taking anti-platelet drugs.