INTRODUCTION Despite the large amount of evidence supporting the use of antiplatelet agents, beta-blockers, angiotensin antagonists, and lipid-lowering statins in patients with stable coronary artery disease, several studies have documented underprescription of optimal medical treatment (OMT) in Spain. AIMS The present study aimed to describe the current trend of pharmacological prescription in secondary prevention treatment for cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) in a Spanish cohort. METHODS This study was a multicenter, observational, cross-sectional study (CAPS study, FER-CAR-2014-01) in the context of only one visit. Adherence levels to the prescribed medication, the reasons for not prescription of each medication, the existence of possible associations between sociodemographic features, different CVDs, and different drugs with treatment compliance were also analyzed in patients who have suffered cardiovascular effects. RESULTS Six hundred and twelve patients (68.5±10.7 years old; 78% males) were included. OMT was prescribed in 40.8% of the patients. The main reason for not prescribing was due to the physician's discretion. Adherence to medication, measured by the Morisky-Green questionnaire, was 45.8%, and it was positively related to the presence of coronary events (OR 1.80; 95% CI: 1.05-3.21) but not with any drug type. Moreover, a higher educational background implied a higher percentage of adherence to medication. Finally, nonadherent patients were prescribed more daily medicine intakes. CONCLUSIONS Low adherence to guideline-oriented treatment as well as low adherence to medication was found by a self-reported questionnaire. Enhancing adherence to guideline-recommended therapy and reducing treatment complexity seem to be reasonable strategies to improve adherence to secondary prevention medications.