PARIS, Aug 23 – A cheap, once-a-day pill that combines aspirin with blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering drugs reduces one-third the risk of heart failure and stroke, researchers said today.
In clinical studies, so-called "polypyl" has been particularly effective in people without a history of cardiovascular disease, reducing the number of serious events by 40 percent, the medical journal reported in .
In patients with a history of heart problems and strokes, the drug combo was only half as effective as the control group, which received healthy lifestyle advice without medication.
The concept of polypyl was first proposed more than 20 years ago as a simpler, cost-effective approach for the treatment of cardiovascular disease, which often requires the administration of several drugs.
Until now, patients have typically been prescribed one or more medicines to lower their blood pressure, along with a statin that holds lipids, such as fatty acids, in control. Aspirin, a pain reliever, has blood thinning properties.
"The more tablets they need to take, the less they take in the long run," notes Causick Ray, professor of public health and Imperial College London, who did not participate in the study.
"For chronic illnesses, this is a challenge because you ask people to take medication multiple times every 30 or 40 years."
About one-third of patients stop taking their medication for another 90 days after a heart attack. , according to previous research.
But despite its apparent potential, polypyl still has to be tested on a large number of people over a long period of time.
Researchers led by Reza Malekzade of Tehran University of Medical Sciences are recruiting nearly 7,000 men and women aged 50 to 75, living in rural Golestan, Iran province. Take Your Medication
About one in every 10 has previously had a heart attack, stroke or other cardiovascular episode.
Th The participants were divided into two groups of approximately the same size. One was given only "lifestyle advice", while the other was also given daily polyps from 2011 to 2013.
Doctors monitor drug compliance and then reduce the number of strokes and heart attacks in each the cohort over the next five
Most importantly, the adherence is significantly higher with the all-in-one pill.
"Medicines don't work unless they are taken," notes Amitava Banerjee, a consultant cardiologist at University College London.
Compared to the lifestyle group, the polypyl group has 34% fewer adverse events. The results are similar for men and women.
Blood pressure is not very different, but the levels of "bad" (LDL) cholesterol are lower in the medication group.
"We now know that fixed-dose polypyl can have clinical benefits in practice," Malekzadeh says in a statement.
"But polypyl is not an alternative to a healthy lifestyle and should be combined with physical activity, healthy eating and smoking cessation."
Other researchers not involved in the study said the results could be a change in the game, especially in developing countries.
"Given the accessibility of polyps, there is considerable potential for improving cardiovascular health and preventing the leading cause of death in the world," notes co-author Nizal Sarrafzadegan, a researcher at the Isfahan University of Medicine.
"More than three-quarters of the 18 million people who die of cardiovascular disease each year live on low- and middle-income rivers. ”- AFP