To examine a) the use of lipid-lowering drugs in North Jutland County in Denmark from 1991 to 1998 and b) the pattern of usage according to sex and age.
We used the Pharmaco-Epidemiological Prescription Database in the county to identify all reimbursed prescriptions for lipid-lowering therapy from 1991 to 1998. One-year incidence rates (IR) and prevalence (P) of the use of lipid-lowering drugs were calculated. Both IR and P of patients in lipid-lowering therapy were stable until 1994, with the IR below 100 per 100 000 for both sexes. The IR then increased from 59.9 to 236.5 per 100 000 person-years in 1998 for women, and from 88.6 to 322.8 per 100 000 person-years for men. The utilization patterns were identical between the sexes. Thus, in both women and men the highest prevalence and incidence rates of lipid-lowering drug therapy were seen in the 60-69-year-olds. Furthermore, the marked increase in both prevalence and incidence of persons on lipid-lowering drug therapy between 1994 and 1998 was the result of an increased number of prescriptions in the 50-59, 60-69 and 70 + years olds, in both women and men. There was a remarkable 4-5 fold increase in the numbers of new patients who received statins during the same period.
The overall use of lipid-lowering drugs has increased markedly over the last few years in Northern Jutland, Denmark. The increase began following publication of the first major trial documenting the benefit of therapy with statins.