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Drug Therapy Before and After StentsResearch comparing the impact of different treatments on outcomes in specific patient groups is a major focus of the health care reform bill signed into law by President Obama last year.

The study demonstrated the value of optimal drug management in these patients with a low risk for heart attacks and death. But its impact on clinical practice has been minimal, study researcher William B. Borden, MD, of Cornell University's Weill Cornell Medical College, tells WebMD.

May 10, 2011 Too few patients with stable coronary artery disease are taking recommended drugs that could help them avoid the need for procedures that open up clogged arteries, a study shows.

The study is published in TheJournal of the American Medical Association.

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Prior to the trial's publication, around 43% Nike Air Force All White

Researchers found little difference in use of the drugs before and after the publication of a landmark 2007 study, known as COURAGE, which found that stents and angioplasty offered no survival advantage over preventive drug treatments alone in patients with stable coronary artery disease.

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"When COURAGE was published it received a great deal of coverage in the medical and public press, so it was surprising to find that it did not influence practice patterns much," Borden tells WebMD.

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Needed Drugs

About a third of the patients weren't prescribed the drugs after having the procedures.

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After undergoing an interventional treatment, about 63% of patients were prescribed the drugs pre COURAGE, compared to 66% of patients after the study's publication.

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"These findings suggest a significant opportunity for improvement and a limited effect of an expensive, highly publicized clinical trial on routine clinical practice," Borden and colleagues write.

Less than half of the heart patients in the study with stable disease were taking antiplatelet drugs, statins, and beta blockers before receiving stents or balloon angioplasty to open clogged blood vessels.

of patients were on the drugs before having the interventional treatments. After its publication, around 45% of patients were taking the drugs before PCI.

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Borden says a major message to policy makers as they fund studies comparing different treatments is that they also need to find better ways to implement findings from these comparative studies.

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