Cheap, a daily pill that combines four drugs, was first tested in the United States to determine if it works as well among low-income Americans as it does in other countries for the treatment of heart attacks and stroke
Experts say the study may attract US interest in a strategy that is considered useful only in places with limited access to medical care.
The pill contained low doses of three blood pressure medications and a cholesterol drug.  About 300 people, aged 45 to 75, from Community Health Center in Mobile, Alabama, participated. Half were assigned to take the combo pill. Others continued their usual care.
After one year, patients with polyps lower their blood pressure and LDL, or bad cholesterol, more than others and in amounts that doctors consider to be significant.
The study did not last long enough to measure heart attacks or strokes. A five-year study of various polypyl in 6,800 people in Iran found that it reduced one-third the risk of heart attack, stroke or heart failure.
Polyps are not yet available in the United States. Many US doctors have had little need for adapting medicines individually, said Dr. Salim Yousuf of McMaster University in Canada, who is conducting another study on polyps, which is expected to be completed next year.
But doctors often fail to personalize medicines because they do not make time and patients do not like return visits.
"It just doesn't happen in practice," Yousuf says.
The study, paid for by the American Heart Association and the National Institutes of Health, was published Wednesday by The New England Journal of Medicine.
"It is this type of evidence that we need to help move this strategy forward," says Dr. Sidney Smith, former president of the Heart Association at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He did not participate in the study.
Most of the people in the survey earn less than $ 1
Although there is elevated blood pressure, only about half have been on medication for it, and less than 20 percent have been on cholesterol medications.
"Polypil gives vulnerable patients a head start" toward better health, says lead author Dr. Daniel Munoz, a heart doctor at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tennessee.
Vanderbilt makes the pills at a monthly cost of $ 26 per patient, although the medicines are free to study participants.
Charles Roland, 66, of Prichard, Alabama, took polypyl. Remembering a pill was easier than his previous routine of blood pressure pills in the morning and a cholesterol pill in the evening.
"My blood pressure goes down," Roland says of his results during the study. "My cholesterol has dropped and is maintained at a constant level that does not pose a threat to my health."
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