Objective: To examine recent trends in the use of secondary stroke prevention medicines by transient ischaemic attack (TIA) and ischaemic stroke survivors. Design, setting and participants: Retrospective observational study of patients aged ≥ 65 years who were hospitalised with a TIA or ischaemic stroke between January 2000 and December 2009. Use of antihypertensive, antithrombotic and lipid-lowering medicines by patients was determined monthly, using claims data from the Australian Government Department of Veterans' Affairs, commencing in January 2003. Main outcome measure: Monthly prevalence of use of secondary stroke prevention medicines. Results: Between 2003 and 2009, small increases in use (less than 2% relative increase annually) were observed for antihypertensive and antithrombotic medicines among 19 019 patients. There was a 9% relative increase in use of lipid-lowering therapy each year. The proportion of patients dispensed all three recommended medicine classes nearly doubled over the 7-year period. By December 2009, about 80% of patients were dispensed an antihypertensive, 75% received an antithrombotic and 60% were dispensed lipid-lowering therapy. Almost half of the population were dispensed all three recommended classes by the end of the study period. Conclusions: Increased use of secondary stroke prevention medicines was shown in this study, in accordance with national stroke guideline recommendations and initiatives supporting quality use of medicines in Australia. There may be opportunity to further increase use of these medicines among older Australians who have had a TIA or ischaemic stroke.
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