Polypill: A cheap way to a healthy heart


The polypill concept was first proposed more than 20 years ago.

A cheap, once-a-day pill combining aspirin with drugs that lower blood pressure and cholesterol cuts cardiovascular disease as a whole by a third, and heart attacks by more than half, researchers said on Friday.

In clinical trials, the so-called ‘polypill’ was especially effective among people with no history of cardiovascular disease, reducing the number of severe events by 40 per cent, the researchers reported in The Lancet, a medical journal.

For those with a history of heart problems and strokes, the drug combo was only half as effective compared to the control group, who received advice on healthy living but no drugs. Among participants who took the pill as directed – at least 70 per cent of the time – heart attack incidence declined by 57 per cent.

The polypill concept was first proposed more than 20 years ago as a simpler, cost-effective approach to treating cardiovascular disease, which often requires taking several medications. Currently, patients are typically prescribed one or more drugs to lower blood pressure along with a statin, which holds lipids such as fatty acids in check.

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