Navigation Links
Daily Four-Drug Combo Pill Halves Heart Disease Risk: Study

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 milligrams of the blood pressure drug hydrochlorothiazide (a diuretic) and 20 milligrams of the cholesterol-lowering statin Zocor (simvastatin).

The new study included 378 people, typically between the ages of 50 and 70 and assessed to be at a moderately heightened risk for heart disease over the next five years. The participants, who were randomly assigned to receive the polypill or a placebo, came from the United Kingdom, Australia, Brazil, India, New Zealand, the Netherlands and the United States.

Over 12 weeks, people taking the polypill saw an average reduction in their systolic blood pressure (the top number in a reading) of 9.9 mmHg, and what Rodgers called a "significant" 0.8 mmol/L average reduction in their LDL "bad" cholesterol, compared with those receiving placebo. Improvements such as these added up to an estimated halving of cardiovascular risk, the team said.

However, about one in every six people taking the polypill experienced some sort of side effect, the team added. In fact, about one in every 20 users quit the drug because of this, a higher rate than had been seen in prior studies involving the polypill.

Overall, the benefits of the polypill, while significant, were not as large as others have suggested, Rodgers said, and side effects were not as limited as had been thought. Given that finding, Rodgers' group thinks the polypill should be given primarily to those at risk for heart disease or stroke.

Another expert agreed that the study offered up good news and bad.

"There were significant reductions in blood pressure and lipid [blood fat] levels," said Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles. "However, the polypill was less well-tolerated than expected."

Still, he said there's been longstanding interest in developing a single pill with fixed-dose combinations of heart-protective medications, especially for use by people in the developing world who may have limited access to health care, and where low cost is a priority.

"Each of the individual components employed in the polypill are generic medications and available in the U.S. for $40 a year each -- that's $160 for a year supply for all four medications," Fonarow noted. "If integrated into a single pill the expected cost of such a polypill would be even lower," he said.

According to Rodgers, the polypill is expected to cost even less than that -- about $2 a month in poorer countries. And since it is only one daily pill, compliance should be higher compared to when a patient needs to take several pills per day.

According to the report, this polypill will be available in India soon and elsewhere within a few years. Around the world, about 80 percent of all deaths from heart disease, stroke and diabetes happen in low- or middle-income countries, the researchers noted.

More information

For more information on cardiovascular disease, visit the American Heart Association.

SOURCES: Gregg C. Fonarow, M.D., professor, cardiology, University of California, Los Angeles; Anthony Rodgers, M.D., professor of global health, The George Institute, Sydney, Australia; May 25, 2011, PLoS One, online

Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for Feb. 15
2. Stroke Conference Daily News Summary
3. Stroke Conference Daily News Summary -- Thursday
4. Stroke Conference Daily News Summary -- Friday
5. NxStage Announces New FREEDOM Data Showing the Positive Impact of its Daily Home Hemodialysis Therapy on Sleep Quality and Restless Legs Syndrome
6. U.S. Census Bureau Daily Feature for March 11
7. Heavy Daily Drinking Linked to Worse Health
8. Maintaining regular daily routines is associated with better sleep quality in older adults
9. Good Bye, Snake Oil! Grab your Orange Juice and Daily Virus Viper™ to Safeguard Against Micro-nutrient Deficiencies
10. Explosion on Gulf Coast Oil Rig Underscores Daily Dangers for Maritime Workers, Say Houston Maritime Injury Lawyers Arnold & Itkin LLP
11. Emdat Launches DaRT Solution That Allows Physicians to Use EMRs with No Changes to Daily Workload
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Daily Four-Drug Combo Pill Halves Heart Disease Risk: Study
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... Keeping in ... for mental health and wellness consultation, has collaborated with a leading web-based marketplace ... knowledge gap experienced by parents and bring advice from parenting experts within their ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The men ... prominent nonprofit healthcare organizations in the country. They have overseen financial turnarounds, shown ... helped advance the healthcare industry as a whole through their advocacy and professional ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... , ... Avid collector, Andrew Hawley from Vintage Rock Posters, announces his search ... one of Joplin's most famous and beautiful concert posters. The concert was held on ... Arbor. The According to Hawley, "It is hard to believe that Joplin's stardom was ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... Patients at Serenity ... have come together on Thanksgiving Day to share the things that they are ... the Serenity Point YouTube channel, patients displayed what they wrote on index cards, ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... ... November 26, 2015 , ... ... system for diagnostic imaging in the Waterloo region. Using the Ocean Platform, family ... tests directly from their electronic medical record (EMR) without the need for redundant ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... UTRECHT , Países Bajos, November 26, 2015 /PRNewswire/ ... con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin para el cáncer ... combina la inmunoterapia con la terapia fotodinámica de Bremachlorin ... Un nuevo enfoque combina la inmunoterapia con la ...   Clinical Cancer Research . --> ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has announced ... Outlook to 2019 - Rise in Cardiac Disorders and Growing ... to their offering. Boston ... scientific and others. --> The market ... Boston scientific and others. ...
(Date:11/26/2015)... , November 26, 2015 ... addition of the "2016 Future Horizons ... of Abuse Testing Market: Supplier Shares, Country ... report to their offering. --> ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: