More than 800,000 people may have missed out on blood pressure pills and statins because of the Covid pandemic.
Almost half a million fewer people received new prescriptions for blood pressure tablets between April 2020 and July 2021, new analysis shows.
The fall in these prescriptions, compared to the pre-pandemic period, could mean more than 13,000 people suffering avoidable cardiovascular events including heart attacks and strokes.
Meanwhile around 316,000 fewer people were newly prescribed statins and similar cholesterol-busting medications during the pandemic.
Almost half a million fewer people received new prescriptions for blood pressure tablets between April 2020 and July 2021, new analysis shows
Meanwhile around 316,000 fewer people were newly prescribed statins and similar cholesterol-busting medications during the pandemic
People missed out on blood pressure checks and blood tests for cholesterol due to lockdowns and Covid restrictions, and these checks could not be done remotely when telephone appointments increased during the pandemic.
Researchers tracked 1.32 billion records of medications, dispensed to 15.8 million people in England, Scotland and Wales over 16 months of the pandemic, as a way to determine the number of missed cases of high blood pressure, cholesterol and type 2 diabetes.
They conclude almost 11,000 avoidable cardiovascular events could still be prevented if people who missed out on blood pressure pills and statins during Covid are identified and prescribed them within five years.
Professor Reecha Sofat, senior author of the study from the University of Liverpool, said: ‘These missed prescriptions, and the risk of cardiovascular events, highlight the importance of being aware of blood pressure.
‘People can measure their blood pressure at home using cuffs which are available on the high street, or pharmacists can play a role in taking blood pressure readings.
‘During the pandemic, many people did not have their normal routine health MOT with a GP, or have high blood pressure picked up during a doctor’s appointment, so we have to find those people now.
‘Despite the incredible work done by NHS staff, our data show that we’re still not identifying people with cardiovascular risk factors at the same rate as we were before the pandemic.’
The study, supported by the British Heart Foundation and published in the journal Nature Medicine, found around 16,700 fewer people a month received a new prescription for statins in the period from April 2020 to July 2021, compared to in 2019
Blood pressure drug warning as half a million pills are recalled
More than 500,000 blood pressure pills have been recalled over a mysterious ‘odour’.
Pharmacists have been asked to look out for two batches of Lacidipine 4 mg Film-Coated Tablets, made by Dr Reddy’s Laboratories.
The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) put out the warning yesterday as a precautionary measure ‘due to the presence of an unknown solvent-like odour.’
The tablets are normally odourless but the batches, which have expiry dates of March and April 2025, have a solvent-like odour is present when the individual blisters are opened.
There have also been complaints from patients who reported that the tablets have an unusual taste.
The investigation to determine the root cause and to identify the odour is ongoing.
If patients are concerned or have any questions about their medicine, they should contact their doctor.
The study, supported by the British Heart Foundation and published in the journal Nature Medicine, found around 16,700 fewer people a month received a new prescription for statins in the period from April 2020 to July 2021, compared to in 2019.
Some 27,000 fewer people a month were prescribed blood pressure tablets.
However prescriptions for type 2 diabetes went up, based on the patient information from Health Data Research UK.
This may be partly due to more people developing the condition after gaining weight during lockdowns.
The missed blood pressure pills alone could lead to 13,662 additional cardiovascular events in England, Wales and Scotland, analysis shows.
That includes almost 2,300 extra people having heart attacks, almost 3,500 having strokes, more than 5,000 people being diagnosed with angina, and 1,205 suffering from heart failure.
The 13,662 extra cardiovascular events are the total if people who did not get blood pressure treatment during the pandemic never start medication.
If these people were found and given the pills the need within five years, the number of cardiovascular events would fall to 2,716.
Dr Sonya Babu-Narayan, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation, said: ‘Yet again we’re seeing clear evidence of the major disruption to healthcare people in the UK experienced during the Covid-19 pandemic.
‘But it’s not too late to limit the damage.
‘These findings demonstrate how getting heart healthcare back on track can curb the additional strain that untreated risk factors such as high blood pressure would otherwise place on the NHS.
‘We need to make it easier and more accessible for everyone to know their numbers – particularly their blood pressure and cholesterol.’