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AHRQ News and Numbers
Release date: September 27, 2005
The proportion of the Medicare population using statins—prescription drugs that
help reduce cholesterol and other fatty substances in the blood—more than
doubled between 1997 and 2002, according to the Federal Agency for Healthcare
Research and Quality.
- In 1997,
just under 12 percent of the 38 million Medicare beneficiaries—4.4 million
persons—used at least one statin drug.
- By 2002,
roughly 27 percent of the 41 million Medicare beneficiaries, or 11 million
individuals, used the drugs. The statistics do not include Medicare
patients in nursing homes or other institutional settings.
Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) found that the increase in use of
these drugs was not always uniform.
- Hispanic Medicare beneficiaries had the least increase in
use, from roughly 11 percent in 1997 to about 18 percent in 2002.
- In contrast, use among white beneficiaries grew from about
12 percent to 28.5 percent during the same period.
- Use among black Medicare beneficiaries tripled—going from roughly
7 percent to about 21 percent.
- When MEPS
survey experts examined the use of statins by the roughly 19 million
Americans, age 18 and older, who received treatment for high cholesterol
in 2002, they found that nearly 82 percent—approximately 16 million
persons—were using at least one of these drugs.
use by Hispanic adults treated for high cholesterol trailed that of white
and black adults. About 70 percent of such Hispanic patients used at least
one statin in 2002, compared with about 82 percent of whites and nearly 86
percent of black patients.
AHRQ News and Numbers uses findings from two new MEPS Statistical Briefs—Trends in Statin Use in the Civilian Non-Institutionalized Medicare Population, 1997 and 2002: Statistical
Brief No. 97, and Statin Use among Persons 18 and Older in the
U.S. Civilian Non-Institutionalized Population Reported as Receiving Medical
Care for the Treatment of High Cholesterol, 2002: Statistical Brief No 95.
These MEPS Statistical Briefs can be found on AHRQ's Web site at: http://meps.ahrq.gov/mepsweb/data_stats/publications.jsp, along
with a third analysis—Statin Use in the Civilian Non-Institutionalized
Medicare Population in 2002: Statistical Brief No. 96.