Single polypill reduces risk of heart attacks and strokes, study finds
25 Août, 2019, 12:41 | Auteur: Yves Courtet
A four-in-one pill created to reduce heart disease and strokes could help older people avoid taking so much medication.
Poor medication adherence is particularly common among patients with cardiovascular disease, with research suggesting that around a third of patients stop taking their medication as early as 90 days after having a heart attack.
Those without a history of cardiovascular disease saw a risk reduction of around 40pc and those with a history of heart problems saw a reduction of 20pc.
"The more tablets people have to take, the less they comply in the long-term", noted Kausik Ray, a professor in public health and Imperial College London not involved in the study.
The research was carried out in a collaboration between the University of Birmingham, Tehran University of Medical Sciences in Iran, Golestan University of Medical Sciences in Iran, Morgan State University in the USA, Isfahan University of Medical Sciences in Iran, Icahn School of Medicine in the U.S. and the National Cancer Institute also in the US.
He suggests that the biggest priority in the United Kingdom "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".
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The polypill comprises blood-thinning aspirin, a cholesterol-reducing statin and two drugs to decrease blood pressure. After five years, 6 percent of those in the pill group had suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure versus 9 percent of the others.
The participants were divided into two groups of roughly the same size. "There has been a lot of talk about using this simple, fixed-dose combination drug for prevention of cardiovascular disease and I think we have shown that as a strategy it can work", said Prof Tom Marshall, a co-author of the study from the University of Birmingham, adding that the pills might cost as little as a few pence per day. "But the polypill is not an alternative to a healthy lifestyle and should be combined with physical activity, a healthy diet, and smoking cessation". Side effects were similar in both groups.
"Over three-quarters of the people of the 18 million people who die from cardiovascular diseases each year live in low and middle-income countries".
Professor Reza Malekzadeh, of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, said: "Our research has shown a polypill prevents heart disease in a developing country and is an important step forward in preventing heart disease".
Some experts - including the authors themselves - said further trials were needed to see if the polypill would prove effective among other populations.
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