July 19, 2012- A test trial shows that a four-in-one drug was able to lower cholesterol and blood pressure significantly in people over 50, who had not prior history of heart disease. The results from the small study in Britain fuelled the debate about using the polypill, as it is called, to stave of strokes and heart attacks.
The idea of one pill fits all for heart drugs has been pushed for nearly 10 years. However, reaching the market is not clear due to the regulatory hurdles faced and the lack of interest given by large drug makers that are more focused on selling medicines that are newly patented.
The trial, which was randomized, is the first to actually test the polypill in a selected age group of people. Other polypills have been used in patients that were known to be cardiovascular risks, but these researchers, led by David Wald and his colleagues from Queens Mary University in London, believe the pill has a strong case for use among everyone who is older than 50 that is currently getting treatment.
Their pill, manufactured by Cipla in India, combines three medicines for blood pressure plus simavastatin, which fights cholesterol. The results were that the pill reduced blood pressure 12% and the bad cholesterol, LDL, by nearly 39%.
Wald suggested that the results show the polypill could lower the number of strokes and heart attacks by two-thirds in the general population, based on what is already known about the importance of those two factors – blood pressure and cholesterol.