WEDNESDAY, May 20, 2020 (HealthDay News) — For patients at high risk for or with established cardiovascular disease in primary care, sex differences exist in the prescription of cardiovascular medications, according to a review published online May 20 in the Journal of the American Heart Association.

Min Zhao, Ph.D., from Utrecht University in the Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis to examine sex differences in cardiovascular medication prescription among primary care patients at high risk for or with established cardiovascular disease. Pooled women-to-men prevalence ratios were obtained for each cardiovascular medication prescription. Data were included from 43 studies with 2,264,600 participants (28 percent women) worldwide.

The researchers found that for women, the pooled prevalence of cardiovascular medication prescriptions was 41, 60, and 68 percent for aspirin, statins, and any antihypertensive medications, respectively. For men, the corresponding rates were 56, 63, and 69 percent. For aspirin, statins, and antihypertensive medications, the pooled women-to-men prevalence ratios were 0.81 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.72 to 0.92), 0.90 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.85 to 0.95), and 1.01 (95 percent confidence interval, 0.95 to 1.08), respectively. The likelihood of being prescribed angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors was lower for women, while they were more likely to be prescribed diuretics.

“Future research is needed to determine the underlying causes of observed sex differences and to develop tailored strategies to optimize the use of evidence-based cardiovascular medication for both women and men,” the authors write.

One author disclosed financial ties to Amgen and Kirin.

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