Key words Lipid-lowering drugs; International comparison
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Chemistry and Pharmacology
Abstract Objective: To compare the overall utilisation patterns of lipid-lowering drugs between 1990 and 1994 in Australia, Finland, Italy, Norway and Sweden as well as the pattern of use with respect to age and gender in Italy and Sweden. Methods: Data were retrieved from regulatory authorities in each country for the 5-year period and analysed according to the ATC/DDD methodology (Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification/Defined Daily Doses). Utilisation was calculated as the DDDs for 1000 inhabitants per day for all drugs of the ATC category B04 (serum lipid-reducing agents). Data from Sweden and Italy were also compared with respect to gender and age. Results: In 1994, Australia demonstrated the highest degree of utilisation (11.9 DDD) and the Nordic Countries the lowest (Sweden 5.6; Norway 4.9; Finland 4.0). In all countries except Italy, a steady increase was observed; in Italy, utilisation of these drugs reached a maximum in 1992 (11.5 DDD), but then underwent a reduction which was caused by restrictions in the reimbursement status in 1993 (10.4) and 1994 (6.7). Administration of statins increased in all countries, becoming the most used group of the B04 class. In 1988, the number of different drugs listed by each national health service ranged from 4 (Norway) to 16 (Italy); in 1994 it ranged from 6 (Norway) to 9 (Sweden). Analysis with respect to gender showed the opposite pattern in Sweden (males 4.6 and females 3.3 in 1992; 6.2 and 4.5, respectively, in 1994) than in Italy (males 10.8 and females 17.8 in 1992; 6.4 and 9.2, respectively, in 1994). Exposure was highest in people aged 60–69 years in both countries, followed by age group 50–59 in Sweden and 70–79 in Italy. Conclusions: Large variations in the utilisation of lipid-lowering drugs exist between countries, with Australia and Italy much higher than others. Of the drugs in the ATC category B04, the use of statins predominates in all countries, but to varying degrees. The large difference in the degree of drug utilisation with respect to age and gender between Italy and Sweden suggests major deviations from evidence-based medicine.
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