• acute coronary syndromes;
  • evidence-based pharmacotherapy;
  • secondary prevention;
  • utilization



Despite the availability of various prevention guidelines on acute coronary syndrome (ACS), secondary prevention practice utilizing aspirin, beta-blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors and statins still can be sub-optimal.

Aims and objectives

To review and document the utilization of pharmacotherapy for the secondary prevention of ACS in patients discharged from a Malaysian hospital.


A retrospective cross-sectional study was conducted at a tertiary hospital in Penang, Malaysia. Patients with a primary diagnosis of ACS were identified from medical records over a 4-month period. A range of clinical data was extracted from medical records, including medical history, clinical presentation and pharmacotherapy both on admission and at discharge. This audit focused on the use of four guideline-recommended therapies: aspirin±clopidogrel, beta-blockers, statins and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor (ACEI)/angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs).


Data pertaining to a total of 380 ACS patients was extracted and reviewed, the mean age of the study population was 57.49 years and 73.9% of population was males. Patients with unstable angina accounted for 56.6% of the admissions whereas 23.4% and 20% of the patients were admitted for ST-elevation myocardial infarction and non-ST-segment elevation infarct respectively. 95.7% of the patients received antiplatelets comprising of at least aspirin, and 82% received aspirin plus clopidogrel. Furthermore, 80.3% of the patients received a beta-blocker at discharge, 95% a statin and 69.7% received either an ACEI or ARB. Compared with patients who presented with myocardial infarction (with or without ST-segment elevation), those presenting with unstable angina were less likely to receive the combination of aspirin plus clopidogrel or an ACEI/ARB at discharge. Patients over 65 years of age were also less likely to receive a beta-blocker at discharge, compared with younger patients.


There is a good adherence to evidence-based guidelines for the secondary prevention of ACS in this local setting. However, there is some potential underutilization in the older population and patients presenting with unstable angina.