Study reveals 50% of patients living with high cholesterol in the Gulf countries fail to reach treatment targets


Despite the wide use of anti-cholesterol drugs such as statin therapy, only 50% of patients in the Gulf are managing to lower their bad cholesterol (LDL–C) levels to goal and remain at risk of heart disease. These are the findings of the CEPHEUS study, the initial results of which were announced by AstraZeneca Gulf, in partnership with the Emirates Cardiac Society (ECS) in December.

The CEPHEUS research is the first of its kind and the largest study on cholesterol management conducted in the Gulf countries. Covering more than 5,000 patients, the study looked at treatment status for high cholesterol in high-risk individuals, with the aim of establishing the percentage of patients who achieve target cholesterol goals based on American Guidelines (NCEP ATP). It also aimed to identify and understand physician and patient characteristics that may influence or contribute to the treatment situation.

Dr Wael Abdulrahman Almahmeed, member and former president of the Emirates Cardiac Society, Deputy Chief Medical Officer and Head of the Cardiology, Heart and Vascular Institute at Sheikh Khalifa Medical City in Abu Dhabi, and UAE Principal Investigator of the CEPHEUS study, said: “We are doing well in the treatment of low risk patients, however the patients who need treatment the most – the high risk patients – are not reaching their goals. We need to be more aggressive with this specific group of patients.”

Dr Fahad Baslaib, Head of Cardiology at Rashid Hospital and Chairman of the Emirates Cardiac Society, said: “The CEPHEUS study provides vital insights on the communication barriers between doctors and patients, and the significant impact this has on treatment goals. Worryingly, it suggests that many patients remain unaware of the role of proper treatment in their cholesterol management, which can directly result in non-compliance of their medication regime.

“This research now allows the medical community to put the necessary plans in place to address this issue, and ensure patients receive the best possible care for managing high cholesterol and to help reduce any chances of cardiovascular disease,” he continued.

Dr Afzal Yusufali, Consultant Physician and Cardiologist, Dubai Hospital, said: “Patients at very high risk should be treated intensively to lower their cholesterols if they want to avoid heart attacks. We have now very safe and effective medications to achieve the evidence based recommended cholesterol reductions targets. Both physicians and patients should now feel comfortable in using these medications to achieve these lower targets.”

Currently, patients are not scheduling regular check-ups with their physician and many fail to see the necessity of visiting their doctor. Patients who suffer from high cholesterol should change their lifestyle routines, especially if they smoke, or do not follow a healthy diet.

Dr Wael Fahmy, Medical Director, AstraZeneca Gulf said: “We face one of the hardest challenges in the healthcare industry – trying to change people’s behaviour – to benefit their health.”

The CEPHEUS study conducted in the Gulf countries conveys new information about the current management of high cholesterol in this region. It is the first study to provide quantitative evaluation of the results of anti-cholesterol treatment in this part of the world. The research took place 22 November 2009 and 7 July 2010 with 5,457 patients in the GCC. Data collection took place at a single patient visit and survey participation was completed after this visit. Prior to the inclusion of their first patient, the investigator completed an Investigator Questionnaire.

 Date of upload: 21st Jan 2012


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