A pill combining four cardiovascular drugs cuts the risk of major heart and circulatory disease events by a third over five years, a study published in the Lancet has found.
The study also states that the pill might substantially reduce the burden of heart disease if adopted widely, especially in low- and middle-income countries. The study was based in more than 100 villages in Iran and around 6,800 people took part. Half the people were given the polypill and advice on how to improve their lifestyle, with the other half just getting the advice. After five years there were 202 major cardiovascular events in the 3,421 people getting the polypill, and 301 in the 3,417 not getting the pill.
‘This study shows that in low- and middle-income countries, where the use of medicines to reduce heart disease risk is low, a single pill combining several drugs is safe and effective,’ said Professor Jeremy Pearson, associate medical director at the British Heart Foundation.
‘In the UK, as many as a third of people with high blood pressure are undiagnosed and many of those who are diagnosed aren’t managing their condition properly, even though we already have several effective medicines.’
Coronary heart disease and stroke are the top two causes of death worldwide, killing more than 15 million people a year. Smoking, obesity and doing little exercise increase the risk of an heart attack or stroke.
‘This means that the biggest priority in the UK is to identify more people who do not realise they have high blood cholesterol or high blood pressure, and to help people prescribed medications to take them as prescribed,’ added Professor Pearson.