Prevalence of antilipemic drug use in Taiwan: Analysis of a sampling cohort within the National Health Insurance

Tzeng Ji Chen, Shing Jong Lin*, Liang Kung Chen, Shinn Jang Hwang, Li Fang Chou

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Background. Hyperlipidemia is a major risk factor of cardiovascular diseases. We investigated the utilization of antilipemic drugs at the outpatient sector within the National Health Insurance in Taiwan. Methods. We obtained the first cohort (n = 50,000) dataset from the National Health Insurance Research Database and analyzed the outpatient claim files of the cohort in 2000. The antilipemic drugs were defined as the drug items belonging to the group C10 (serum lipid reducing agents) of the Anatomical Therapeutic Chemical classification system. Results. Among the cohort with 46,614 eligible people, 760 patients had ever received antilipemic drugs (prevalence: 1.6%). The group 60 - 69 years of age had the greatest age-specific prevalence (7.2%), followed by the group over 70 years of age (6.0%). There were more male than female patients, but female patients outnumbered male patients before the age of 49 years. The antilipemic drugs had been prescribed 3,850 times totally with 70,272 defined daily doses (DDDs). On an average, a patient with antilipemic therapy received 5.1 (± 4.5) prescriptions of antilipemic drugs in one year and a prescription contained 18.3 (± 11.5) DDDs. We measured 4.1 DDDs per 1,000 inhabitants per day for all antilipemic drug use in 2000. The statins and fibrates predominated the antilipemic drug use. While gemfibrozil was most popular in respect of recipients and prescription items, simvastatin had the largest amount of use in unit of DDDs. Diabetes mellitus co-existed in 37.8% of the patients with antilipemic therapy and the standardized morbidity ratio (SMR) was 3.34. The other concomitant diseases included essential hypertension (rate: 48.8%, SMR: 2.40) and other heart disease (rate: 30.7%, SMR: 2.36). Conclusions. Statins were the leading antilipemic drugs in Taiwan. The users of antilipemic drugs were more likely to have concomitant diabetes mellitus, hypertension and heart disease.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)39-45
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of the Chinese Medical Association
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003


  • Antilipemic agents
  • Drug utilization
  • National health programs
  • Pharmacoepidemiology
  • Prevalence


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