Deakin University

File(s) not publicly available

Evidence based drug therapy : are optimal doses and multiple medication therapies realistic in patients with chronic heart failure

conference contribution
posted on 2007-01-01, 00:00 authored by Andrea DriscollAndrea Driscoll, Linda Worrall-Carter, D Hare, P Davidson, B Riegel, A Tonkin, S Stewart
Background: Chronic Heart Failure (CHF) has a high mortality and morbidity. Large scale randomised controlled trials have proven the benefits of beta blockade and ACE inhibitors in reducing mortality in patients with CHF and expert guidelines mandate their use. In spite of these recommendations, important therapies are under-prescribed and under-utilised.

Method: 1015 consecutive patients enrolled in CHF management programs across Australia were surveyed during 2005-2006 to determine prescribing patterns in heart failure medications. These patients were followed-up for a period of 6 months.

Results: The survey revealed that beta blockers were prescribed to 80% of patients (more than 85% were on sub-optimal doses) and 70% were prescribed Angiotensin converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors (approximately 50% were on sub-optimal dose). 19% of patients were prescribed Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs). By 6 months <25% of the patients who were on sub-optimal dose beta blockers or ACE inhibitors at baseline, had been up-titrated to maximum dose (p<0.0001). In CHF programs, were nurses were able to titrate medications, 75% of patients reached optimal dose of beta blockers compared to those programs with no nurse-led medication titration, where only 25% of patients reached optimal dose (p<0.004). When examining optimal dosage for any two of these mandatory medications, less patients were on optimal therapy. Beta blockers and ACE inhibitors, were both prescribed in combination in 60% of patients. While beta blockers and ARBs were prescribed to 15% of patients.

Conclusion: Whilst prescribing rates for a single medication strategy of beta blockers, or ACE inhibitors were greater than 70%, an increase in dosage of these medications and utilisation of proven combination therapy of these medications was poor. It is suggested that clinical outcomes for this cohort of patients could be further improved by adherence to evidence-based practice, ESC guidelines, and optimisation of these medications by heart failure nurses in a CHF program. On the basis of these findings and in the absence of ready access to a polypill, focussing on evidence-based practice to increase utilisation and optimal dosage of combination medication therapy is critical.



European Society of Cardiology. Congress (2007 : Vienna, Austria)


47 - 48


Oxford University Press


Vienna, Austria

Place of publication

United Kingdom

Start date


End date




Publication classification

E3 Extract of paper

Title of proceedings

ESC 2007 : European Heart Journal : Abstract Supplement

Usage metrics

    Research Publications


    No categories selected


    Ref. manager