Abstract 3783: Antihypertensive Medications in the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) 1999–2006
Objective: To evaluate national antihypertensive medication use we collected data from 2003–2006 and compared it to previously collected data from 1999 –2002. We examine the cost implications of shifts in antihypertensive medications prescribed.
Methods: National VA pharmacy data were used to determine the use of beta blockers (BB), calcium channel blockers (CCB), thiazide diuretics (TD) alone or with K sparing diuretics, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors (ACEI), angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB), and combinations of the aforementioned classes for 2003–2006. Total number of treatment days, determined from days supply of the prescription, was used to determine patterns of use over time.
Results: Antihypertensive medication use in the VA represented more than 1.5 billion days in 2006 and increased 2.5 fold from the 577 million estimated for 1999. ACEI were most commonly used, representing 31.8% and 31.7% of treatment days in 1999 and 2006, respectively. In the ACEI class lisinopril is the most commonly used drug. Increases in use from 1999 to 2006 were 21.2% to 25.2% for BB, 14.4% to 17.8% for TD, and 1.2% to 5.2% for ARB. Decreases in use from 1999 to 2006 were 26.7% to 17.6% for CCB. The decline in CCB was inversely correlated to the increase in BB or TD (p<0.001). Shifts in medication use are estimated to save the VA $33 million annually.
Conclusions: ACEI remain the most prescribed antihypertensive drug class in the VA, followed by BB, TD, CCB, and ARBs. TD use shows a slow steady increase while CCB use continues to decline. These findings suggest that VA has increasing adherence to JNC7 and VA HTN guidelines.