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Daily Four-Drug Combo Pill Halves Heart Disease Risk: Study
Date:5/26/2011

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 25 (HealthDay News) -- A cheap, once-daily, four-drugs-in-one medication, dubbed a "polypill," appears to cut users' odds for heart disease and stroke by 50 percent, a new international study finds.

The pill combines two blood pressure-lowering medications with aspirin and a cholesterol-lowering statin and is designed to make all these heart-protecting drugs easy to take, researchers say. That, along with its expected cheap cost, might improve compliance with medication regimens, experts suggest.

"We think the role for the polypill is among those at risk of heart disease, in preventing heart attacks and strokes," said lead researcher Dr. Anthony Rodgers, a professor of global health at The George Institute in Sydney, Australia.

The study was funded by public health agencies in Australia, Brazil, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. India-based drug maker Dr. Reddy's Laboratories supplied the pill but did not play a role in funding.

Rodgers stressed that there are still unanswered questions about the pros and cons of using this type of combination pill versus prescribing several pills, where doses and medications are tailored to individual patients. A trial is ongoing to look at that question, he said.

However, tailoring medications in this area is not as important as it once seemed, Rodgers believes. "We realize now the importance of treating the overall risk. And this [pill] is part of that paradigm shift," he said. He noted that the polypill will probably not ever replace the use of individual pills for every patient. "There will always be patients who do better on individually dosed medicines," he added.

The report was published in the May 25 online edition of the journal PLoS One.

In addition to 75 milligrams of aspirin, the polypill contains 10 milligrams of the blood pressure-lowering drug Prinzide (lisinopril), 12.5 mill
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