There is a dearth of evidence demonstrating the benefits of cardiovascular disease (CVD) preventive medication in older people. We recruited an ethnically diverse group of 39 older people from northern New Zealand to explore their views on CVD preventive medication. Participants had a mean age of 74 years (range 61-91y); 19 were women; and there were four ethnic groups: Maori (7); South Asian (8); NZ European (9); and Pasifika (15). Most participants were taking at least one CVD preventive medication. Despite being ‘not happy’ to take medication and preferring a more natural approach, most participants took medication because they believed it would keep them alive for their grandchildren and prevent a heart attack or stroke. Some believed they needed medication to keep going, just as a car needed petrol. The faith in medication was reflected in fear of the consequences of stopping it. Some participants equated stopping medication to giving up on life. Many participants took medication as they trusted their doctor’s advice. However, others said that medication was the ‘easy option’ for doctors and that doctors gave medication to everyone of a certain age. Some participants described daily medication as ‘too much’. They dreamed of throwing away their pills, others moderated their intake by omitting pills for a day or two each week. Despite a general antipathy towards medication, most older people took medication because of a strong belief that it would save their life and prevent a heart attack or stroke.

UQ Researchers

Associate Professor Katharine Wallis

Associate Professor Katharine Wallis

Acting Head & Associate Professor
Primary Care Clinical Unit

Collaborators

Dr Denise Ann Taylor
Senior Lecturer
Faculty of Health
Victoria University of Wellington, New Zealand.

Associate Professor Susan Wells
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Sione Feki
Waitemata District Health Board
New Zealand

Sione Sengili Moala
Waitemata District Health Board
New Zealand

Manusiu Latu
PhD Candidate
The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Elizabeth Fono Fanueli
Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences
The University of Auckland, New Zealand

Priya Saravanakumar
Lecturer (Nursing)
Auckland University of Technology