Objective: To determine the recent pattern of use of hypolipidaemic drugs in the Australian community. Design: Drug utilisation study employing prescription data collected during the operation of the Australian Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme (PBS). Setting: Non-hospital drug use in Australia. Patients: All patients, pensioners and non-pensioners, who received prescriptions for hypolipidaemic agents under the PBS between January 1987 and December 1989. Main outcome measures: The total number of prescriptions, average quantity dispensed with each prescription, defined daily doses (DDD) and Australian population figures for pensioners and non-pensioners were used to express the consumption of hypolipidaemic agents as DDD/1000 individuals/day. Results: Between the March quarter 1987 and the December quarter 1989 prescribing of hypolipidaemics for the Australian community increased from 68120 to 304760 prescriptions per quarter, which translates to a rise in use from 1.2 to 5.2 DDD/1000 inhabitants/day. This included a rise in the use of clofibrate from 0.6 to 2.6 DDD/1000 inhabitants/day, and of cholestyramine from 0.6 to 1.9 DDD/1000 inhabitants/day. Prescribing of hypolipidaemics for pensioners increased from 29569 to 123440 prescriptions per quarter. This translated into a rise in use from 3.7 to 14.8 DDD/1000 pensioners/day. Notable rises were seen for clofibrate, 1.9 to 8.1 DDD/1000 pensioners/day, and cholestyramine, 1.6 to 4.7 DDD/1000 pensioners/day. In comparison published data from the Nordic countries and the United States showed a lower overall use of hypolipidaemics and declining consumption of clofibrate. Conclusions: The trend in Australia was unusual in that the use of clofibrate increased to a greater extent than that of the resins, cholestyramine and colestipol which are generally preferred for treatment of hypercholesterolaemia. Possible reasons for this include: the better tolerability of clofibrate; its readier availability during the study period; the recommendation by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Advisory Committee that clofibrate was the preferred drug when triglyceride levels were also elevated and the limited availability of newer hypolipidaemic agents.
|Number of pages||5|
|Journal||Medical Journal of Australia|
|Publication status||Published - 1991|