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  • 1 July 2017 to 31 July 2018
  • Project No: 339
  • Funding round: FR 13

General Practitioners (GPs) are encouraged to do all they can to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes in their patients through prescribing medication, such as statins or blood-pressure lowering drugs.  Evidence of the benefits of these medications often comes from people who are not like typical patients. For example they generally only have one health condition, and are relatively young and wealthy compared to the general population.  However, GPs are increasingly looking after an ageing population with multiple health problems.  Little is known about how effective risk-reducing medications are in preventing heart attacks and strokes in patients with several health problems.

This research will use a large UK database of anonymised patient’s primary care medical records. The study will use data from 300,000 patients with two or more health problems who are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke, and investigate whether a prescription for a risk-reducing medication prevents those patients having a subsequent heart attack or stroke, or dying.  We will examine whether other factors including age, sex, socio-economic status, and specific other diseases might affect whether medication use prevents health problems. 

This work has the potential to benefit a large number of patients.  Patients with multiple health problems may be more likely to have a heart attack or stroke and therefore gain more from taking preventative medication, compared to patients with fewer health problems.  Yet, GPs may be less likely to prescribe these preventative medications, as patients with several conditions may already be taking an extensive range of medications.  This study will help us understand the benefits of prescribing preventative medications in this growing population.

Amount awarded: £57,583

Projects by themes

We have grouped projects under the five SPCR themes in this document

Evidence synthesis working group

The collaboration will be conducting 18 high impact systematic reviews, under four workstreams.