Aims Elevated body mass index (BMI) is an important cause of cardiovascular disease (CVD). The population-level impact of pharmacologic strategies to mitigate the risk of CVD conferred by the metabolic consequences of an elevated BMI is not well described. Methods We conducted an analysis of 145 986 participants (mean age 50 years, 58% women) from 21 high-, middle-, and low-in- and results come countries in the Prospective Urban and Rural Epidemiology study who had no history of cancer, ischaemic heart disease, heart failure, or stroke. We evaluated whether the hazards of CVD (myocardial infarction, stroke, heart failure, or cardiovascular death) differed among those taking a cardiovascular medication (n = 29 174; including blood pressure-lowering, blood glucose-lowering, cholesterol-lowering, or anti-thrombotic medications) vs. those not taking a cardiovascular medication (n = 116 812) during 10.2 years of follow-up. Cox proportional hazard models with the community as a shared frailty were constructed by adjusting age, sex, education, geographic region, physical activity, tobacco, and alcohol use. We observed 7928 (5.4%) CVD events and 9863 (6.8%) deaths. Cardiovascular medication use was associated with different hazards of CVD (interaction P, 0.0001) and death (interaction P = 0.0020) as compared with no cardiovascular medication use. Among those not taking a cardiovascular medication, as compared with those with BMI 20 to,25 kg/m2, the hazard ratio (HR) [95% confidence interval (95% CI)] for CVD were, respectively, 1.14 (1.06–1.23); 1.45 (1.30–1.61); and 1.53 (1.28–1.82) among those with BMI 25 to,30 kg/m2; 30 to,35 kg/m2; and ≥35 kg/m2. However, among those taking a cardiovascular medication, the HR (95% CI) for CVD were, respectively, 0.79 (0.72–0.87); 0.90 (0.79–1.01); and 1.14 (0.98–1.33). Among those not taking a cardiovascular medication, the respective HR (95% CI) for death were 0.93 (0.87–1.00); 1.03 (0.93–1.15); and 1.44 (1.24–1.67) among those with BMI 25 to,30 kg/m2; 30 to,35 kg/m2; and ≥35 kg/m2. However, among those taking a cardiovascular medication, the respective HR (95% CI) for death were 0.77 (0.69–0.84); 0.88 (0.78–0.99); and 1.12 (0.96–1.30). Blood pressure-lowering medications accounted for the largest population attributable benefit of cardiovascular medications. Conclusion To the extent that CVD risk among those with an elevated BMI is related to hypertension, diabetes, and an elevated thrombotic milieu, targeting these pathways pharmacologically may represent an important complementary means of reducing the CVD burden caused by an elevated BMI.
- Blood pressure
- Risk factor