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Once-a-day pill could reduce heart attacks

19th July 2012

Researchers say a "polypill" combining a statin with blood pressure drugs could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes every year.

A team from Queen Mary, University of London looked at 84 people over 50 and found that the tablet could cut blood pressure and levels of bad cholesterol.

They focused on a polypill containing a statin and three blood pressure drugs, all of which are widely used, with patients either given either a polypill or a dummy pill once a day for three months and then the two groups swapped treatment regimes.

The results suggested the polypill reduced blood pressure by 12% and LDL cholesterol by 39%.

Consultant cardiologist Dr David Wald said: “The health implications of our results are large. If people took the polypill from age 50, an estimated 28% would benefit by avoiding or delaying a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime.”

However, the British Heart Foundation has said that while the research is encouraging, more work needed to be done.

BHF senior cardiac nurse Natasha Stewart said: “This research only studied a very small number of people, so we'd need to see further large scale trials on a wider population to get more detailed results.

“However interesting this potential new pill is, medicines are not a substitute for living a healthy lifestyle. Staying active, eating healthily and not smoking are still vital ways to help keep your heart in good shape.”

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society said a much larger study was needed to show the full impact of such a pill.

 

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