‘Polypill’ May Cut Heart Attack, Stroke Risk By 40%

By Dennis Thompson HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Nov 16, 2020 (HealthDay News) – A single pill loaded with cholesterol and high blood pressure medication can lower your risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 40%, according to a new international study.

The “polypill” containing three generic blood pressure drugs and a statin significantly reduced the risk of heart disease in people with no history of heart problems, according to clinical trial results.

When taken alone, polypill reduces the risk of heart attack, stroke, blocked artery reopening procedures, and other heart disease by about 20%, the researchers reported.

Polypill combined with low-dose daily aspirin was even more effective, reducing heart health problems by up to 40%, according to the results.

“We estimated that if only half of people with hypertension or diabetes were treated with such a polypill, at least between 2 and 4 million premature deaths, heart attacks and strokes would be prevented each year,” said Principal Investigator Dr Salim Yusuf, Professor of Medicine at McMaster University in Canada.

Such a polypill would also have other benefits, Yusuf said. It would be easier for patients, who wouldn’t have to juggle a handful of daily medications, and for doctors who would only have to write one prescription. A single pill is also cheaper to market and distribute.

“Personally, I just want people to use the components separately or together. If it’s more convenient together, why not?” Yusuf said.

The results of the study were published online Nov. 13 in the New England Journal of Medicine. For the trial, more than 5,700 people from nine countries were randomly assigned to one of the four groups. They were asked to take one of the following daily medications: both polypill and aspirin, polypill alone, aspirin alone, or just a placebo.

The polypill used in this study included cholesterol lowering simvastatin and three blood pressure medications (a beta blocker called atenolol, a diuretic called hydrochlorothiazide, and an ACE inhibitor called ramipril).

Compared to placebo, polypill was successful in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, the researchers found.

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