While noting improvements, two Duke studies find doctors still not using drugs shown to be beneficial in clinical trials

March 19, 2001

Orlando, FL - Two different analyses by Duke University Medical Center cardiologists have shown that while multi-center clinical trials involving thousands of patients have clearly demonstrated that certain drugs can improve the outcomes for heart patients and save lives, the message is not being uniformly heard by physicians.

During the past decade, large-scale randomized clinical trials have shown the effectiveness of such agents as beta blockers, ACE inhibitors and aspirin in reducing the number of deaths due to heart disease. While one might assume that the results of these trials would change the way physicians practice, that is not always the case, the researchers say.

The Duke studies show, for example, that the acceptance rates by doctors of different classes of new drugs varies widely, and can vary from region to region across North America. A preliminary analysis by the Duke researchers determined that if every patient who was an appropriate candidate for one of the proven therapies actually received the therapy, more than 80,000 lives a year could be saved.
The results of the two Duke analyses were prepared for presentation during the 50th annual scientific sessions of the American College of Cardiology.

Note to editors: Dr. Christopher Granger can be reached at 919-668-8900, grang001@mc.duke.edu, and Dr. M. Cecilia Bahit can be reached at 919-668-8700, Bahit001@mc.duke.edu

Duke University Medical Center

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