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General Practice

Time trend analysis and variations in prescribing lipid lowering drugs in general practice

BMJ 1998; 317 doi: (Published 24 October 1998) Cite this as: BMJ 1998;317:1134
  1. Catherine Baxter, research fellow in cardiology (,
  2. Roger Jones, Wolfson professor of general practiceb,
  3. Laura Corr, consultant cardiologista
  1. Department of Cardiology, St Thomas's Hospital, London SE1 7EH
  2. Department of General Practice, United Medical and Dental Schools of Guy's and St Thomas's Hospitals, London SE11 6SP
  1. Correspondence to: Dr Baxter

    The first trial to show that patients with coronary heart disease treated with lipid lowering drugs gained a survival advantage was published in November 1994.1 Other similar trials that used hydroxymethyl glutaryl coenzyme A (HMG-CoA) reductase inhibitors, or statins, have subsequently confirmed these results(Long-term Intervention with Pravastatin in Ischaemic Disease (LIPID) Study Group, 70th scientific sessions of the American Heart Association, Florida, November 1997).2 Despite this, consistent failure occurs in the implementation of these findings.3 This study of primary care in South East Thames investigated variation between practices in the use of lipid lowering drugs and examined how prescribing has changed over time between different health authorities since 1990.

    Subjects, methods, and results

    Four health authorities were chosen to represent the range of demographic variables (including age, ethnic group, and social status) found in this region. These authorities were Bexley and Greenwich; Lambeth, Southwark, and Lewisham; East Kent; and East Sussex.

    Time trend analysis was performed with prescribing analysis and cost (PACT) data …

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