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Equity in the use of antithrombotic drugs, beta-blockers and statins among Finnish coronary patients

Kristiina Manderbacka14*, Ilmo Keskimäki1, Antti Reunanen2 and Timo Klaukka3

Author Affiliations

1 National Research and Development Centre for Welfare and Health, Health Services Research, P.O.Box 220, 00531 Helsinki, Finland

2 National Public Health Institute, Department of health and functional capacity, Mannerheimintie 166, 00300 Helsinki, Finland

3 Social Insurance Institution, Research Department, P.O.Box 450, 00101 Helsinki, Finland

4 Tampere School of Public Health, 33014 University of Tampere, Finland

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International Journal for Equity in Health 2008, 7:16  doi:10.1186/1475-9276-7-16

Published: 30 June 2008



Earlier studies have mainly reported the use of antithrombotic drugs, beta-blockers and statins among hospital patient populations or MI patients. This study aimed to describe the use of these drugs among middle-aged Finnish coronary patients and to identify patient groups in risk of being prescribed inadequate medication for secondary prevention of coronary heart disease.


One-year follow-up survey data from a random sample of a cohort of coronary patients were used along with register data linked to the survey. The response rate was 54% (n = 2650). The main outcome measures were use of antithrombotic drugs, beta-blockers and statins and the data were analysed using logistic regression analysis.


Among men and women, respectively, 82% and 81% used beta-blockers, 95% and 89% used antithrombotic drugs, and 62% and 59% used statins. Younger men and men from higher socioeconomic groups were more likely to use statins, even after controlling for disease severity and comorbidity. In women, the age trend was reversed and no socioeconomic differences were found. Drug use increased with increased disease severity, but diabetes had only a slight effect.


The use of antithrombotic drugs and beta-blockers among Finnish coronary patients seemed to be rather appropriate and, to some extent, prescription practices of preventive medication varied according to patients' risk of coronary events. However, statin use was remarkably low among men with low socio-economic status, and there is need to improve preventive drug treatment among diabetic coronary patients.