Low Utilization of Beta-Blockers Among Medicare Beneficiaries Hospitalized for Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction

Academic Article

Abstract

  • © 2018 Elsevier Inc. Background: The evidence-based beta-blockers carvedilol, bisoprolol, and metoprolol succinate reduce mortality and hospitalizations among patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF). Use of these medications is not well described in the general population of patients with HFrEF, especially among patients with potential contraindications. Objectives: Our goal was to describe the patterns of prescription fills for carvedilol, bisoprolol, and metoprolol succinate among Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for HFrEF, as well as to estimate the associations between specific contraindications for beta-blocker therapy and those patterns. Methods and Results: With the use of the cohort of 15,205 Medicare beneficiaries hospitalized for HFrEF from 2007 to 2013 in the 5% Medicare random sample, we described prescription fills (30 days after discharge) and dosage patterns (1 year after discharge) for beta-blockers. By means of of Fine and Gray competing risk models, we estimated the associations between potential contraindications (hypotension, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease [COPD], asthma, and syncope) and prescription fill and dosing patterns while adjusting for demographics, comorbidities, and health care utilization. For beneficiaries who did not die or readmitted to the hospital, 38% of hospitalizations were followed by a prescription fill for an evidence-based beta-blocker within 30 days, 12% were followed by prescription fills for at least 50% of the recommended dose of an evidence-based beta-blocker within 1 year, and 9% were followed by a prescription fill for an up-titrated dose of an evidence-based beta-blocker within 1 year. The prevalence of the contraindications were 21% for hypotension, 48% for COPD, 15% for asthma, and 12% for syncope. Among beneficiaries who did not fill a prescription for an evidence-based beta-blocker within 30 days, 67% had at least 1 of these contraindications. Hypotension, COPD, and syncope were each associated with a ∼10% lower risk of filling a prescription for an evidence-based beta-blocker. Conclusions: Prescription fill and up-titration rates for evidence-based beta-blockers are low among Medicare beneficiaries with HFrEF, but contraindications explain only a minor part of these low rates.
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    Author List

  • Loop MS; van Dyke MK; Chen L; Safford MM; Kilgore ML; Brown TM; Durant RW; Levitan EB
  • Start Page

  • 343
  • End Page

  • 351
  • Volume

  • 25
  • Issue

  • 5