More than a third of people prescribed drugs for high cholesterol are putting themselves at a dramatically increased risk of heart problems by failing to take their medication for the condition, a health charity has warned.
The British Heart Foundation (BHF) said online research into 1,025 people in the UK conducted in February has shown 36% of cholesterol patients fail to take their prescribed medicine for the condition.
The findings have been released as the charity launched a campaign to get people prescribed medicines for heart problems or “risk factor” conditions such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure to take their medication.
Dr Mike Knapton, BHF associate medical director, said: “Millions of people could be putting their lives in danger by not taking their medicines as prescribed.
“Having high cholesterol or high blood pressure are major risk factors for developing heart and circulatory disease, which is still the UK’s biggest killer, yet we found people with these conditions were often oblivious to the link.
“We want to remind people how vital heart medicines are - even if they feel well and don’t have obvious symptoms.
“And we want them to know they can talk to us if they’ve got questions about their medications.”
The charity said it was naming the campaign after the late comedian Tommy Cooper in the hope that people will use his catchphrase “just like that” to take their medication.
“Tommy Cooper famously and tragically died on stage from a heart attack.
“We hope his catchphrase ‘just like that’ will prevent others suffering the same fate,” Dr Knapton said.