Could a new pill halve the risk of heart problems?

26th May 2011

Popping a pill once a day could halve the risk of heart problems and strokes, scientists have claimed.

The Red Heart four-in-one polypill could also have more positive effects, they claim, in reducing the risk of several types of cancer.

Researchers made the claim following international trials, which showed that the pill halved the risk in most patients and that the medicine had few side effects for many people.

However, some people did drop out of the study because of adverse side effects, including stomach irritation and headache.

The polypill includes statins, which reduce cholesterol, aspirin, and two blood level-lowering components.

These are often prescribed to people separately, but the Daily Mail reported that many doctors believe a combined pill could be more useful in reducing risk of more diseases at once.

Professor Anthony Rodgers, one of the study authors, said: "The results show a halving in heart disease and stroke can be expected for people taking this polypill long-term. These benefits would take several years to kick in, but of course one of the hopes with a polypill is it helps people take medicines long-term."

Doctors have previously suggested that people should take an aspirin a day to ward off heart problems and even some cancers.

Posted by Philip Briggs

1. Rodgers, Anthony et al. "An International Randomised Placebo-Controlled Trial of a Four-Component Combination Pill (“Polypill”) in People with Raised Cardiovascular Risk." PLoS One. 25th May 2011.

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