Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on cardiovascular heart disease medication use: time-series analysis of England’s prescription data during the COVID-19 pandemic (Jan 2019 to Oct 2020)

Ravina Barrett, James Hodgkinson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background:: Management of high blood pressure (BP) typically requires adherence to medication regimes. However, it is known that the COVID-19 pandemic both interrupted access to some routine prescriptions and changed some patient health behaviours. Aim:: This study, therefore, retrospectively investigated prescription reimbursement of cardiovascular (CVD) medicines as a proxy measure for patient adherence and access to medicines during the pandemic. Methods:: A cohort study of all primary care patients in England prescribed CVD medicines. The exposure was to the global pandemic. Prescriptions were compared before and after the pandemic’s onset. Statistical variation was the outcome of interest. Results:: Descriptive statistics show changes to monthly prescriptions, with wide confidence intervals indicating varying underlying practice. Analysis of variance reveals statistically significant differences for bendroflumethiazide, potassium-sparing diuretics, nicorandil, ezetimibe, ivabradine, ranolazine, colesevelam and midodrine. After the pandemic began (March–October 2020), negative parameters are observed for ACE inhibitors, beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, statins, antiplatelet, antithrombotics, ARBs, loop diuretics, doxazosin, bendroflumethiazide, nitrates and indapamide, indicating decelerating monthly prescription items (statistically significant declines of calcium channel blockers, antithrombotic, adrenoreceptor blockers and diuretics) of CVD medicines within the general population. Many data points are not statistically significant, but fluctuations remain clinically important for the large population of patients taking these medications. Conclusion:: A concerning decline in uptake of CVD therapies for chronic heart disease was observed. Accessible screening and treatment alongside financial relief on prescription levies are needed. A video abstract is (4 min 51 s) available:
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages1
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Cardiovascular Disease
Publication statusPublished - 24 Nov 2022


  • COVID-19
  • SARS-CoV-2
  • analysis of variance
  • angiotensin II
  • angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors
  • bendroflumethiazide
  • calcium channel blockers
  • cardiovascular diseases
  • colesevelam hydrochloride
  • communicable disease control
  • confidence intervals
  • delivery of health care
  • diuretics
  • doxazosin
  • ezetimibe
  • fibrinolytic agents
  • health services accessibility
  • health status disparities
  • heart diseases
  • hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA reductase inhibitors
  • indapamide
  • interrupted time-series analysis
  • ivabradine
  • life expectancy
  • medication adherence
  • medicine
  • midodrine
  • nicorandil
  • nitrates
  • pandemics
  • pharmacies
  • potassium sparing
  • prescriptions
  • primary health care
  • ranolazine
  • retrospective studies
  • sodium potassium chloride symporter inhibitors


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