New wonder pill ‘slashes risk of heart attack or stroke by a third’

A WONDER pill containing four different drugs slashes the risk of heart attack and stroke by a third.

The “polypill” includes a statin, aspirin and two blood pressure lowering medications in one.

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A wonder pill known as a ‘polypill’ can cut the risk of a heart attack or a stroke by a third[/caption]

Researchers believe it will be welcomed by patients who tire of taking a handful of tablets daily.

A study found it is safe and effective in people with and without a history of cardiovascular disease.

It lowered the risk of heart attack or stroke by 40 per cent in those with no history.

And it cut the odds of further incidents by 20 per cent in those who had suffered before.

The benefits were as high as 57 per cent among volunteers who remembered to take the pill regularly.

The boffins analysed data on 6,838 Iranians aged 50 or older who were tracked for five years.

Some were given the daily fixed-dose polypill and healthy lifestyle advice. Others were given healthy lifestyle advice alone.

LOW SIDE-EFFECTS

Those who took the pill fared an average 34 per cent better and were no more likely to have side-effects.

The trial was run by the Tehran University of Medical Science and the University of Birmingham.

Prof Reza Malekzadeh, from Tehran, said: “Our results showed a significant reduction in major cardiovascular event risk in the polypill group.

“Because the risks of side-effects from the components are very low, and the potential benefits are very high, the polypill is very safe.

“But the polypill is not an alternative to a healthy lifestyle and should be combined with physical activity, a healthy diet, and smoking cessation.”

The scientists did not compare the effect of taking the single pill with taking all four drugs individually. But the benefits are expected to be comparable.

The findings are published in medical journal The Lancet. The researchers said the pills only cost a few pence each.

Prof Tom Marshall, from the University of Birmingham, said: “Patients who are taking statins and blood pressure drugs might find it more convenient to take one pill a day.”



 

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