Physicians' Academy for Cardiovascular Education

Differences in CV medication prescription prevalence between men and women in primary care

Sex Differences in Cardiovascular Medication Prescription in Primary Care: A Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis

Literature - Zhao M, Woodward M, Vaartjes I et al., - J Am Heart Assoc. 2020. doi: 10.1161/JAHA.119.014742.

Introduction and methods

Efforts have been made to characterize CVD in women over the last decades. This has resulted in insights in sex differenced in the presentation, diagnosis, and medical treatment of CVD [1,2]. Studies on sex differences in CVD managements have primarily been performed in secondary care settings [3-6]. It has remained unclear whether differences between men and women in CVD management exist in primary care. In this study, a systematic review and meta-analysis was performed to determine the prevalence of CV medication prescription in men and women in primary care.

This study included observational studies that reported sex-specific prevalence of prescriptions of CV medications in patients at high risk or with established CVD (coronary heart disease, stroke, heart failure, and atrial fibrillation). The prevalence of the following CV medications was analyzed: aspirin, statins, any antihypertensive medications (including beta blockers, calcium channel blockers [CCBs], angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors [ACE inhibitors]), and diuretics.

Random effects meta-analysis was used to analyze pooled women-to- men prevalence ratios for each CV medication prescription. The primary outcome was the women-to-men prescription prevalence ratio with 95%CI for each CV medication. Secondary outcomes included sex-specific prescription rates of each CV medication.

Main results


This study found sex-differences in the prescription prevalence in primary care among patients at high risk or with established CVD. Prescription prevalence was lower for aspirin, statins and ACE inhibitors, but higher for diuretics in women, compared to men. Further studies are needed to identify the underlying causes of the sex-differences in prescription prevalence in primary care.


Show references

Find this article online at J Am Heart Assoc.

Share this page with your colleagues and friends: