By: W. Langbein
It seems too good to be true, but researchers from Queen Mary’s School of Medicine and Dentistry in London are advancing a new therapy to reduce the cardiovascular risk factors of high blood cholesterol, blood pressure, blood homocysteine levels, and platelet clumping—all in one pill.
Professors Nick Wald and Malcolm Law of the Wolfson Institute claim that a single pill with six active components (aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering drug, three blood pressure drugs at half standard dose, and folic acid) could replace the multiple medications that many people, including those with diabetes, now take daily.
After analyzing 750 trials involving 400,000 participants, the researchers concluded that a proper amount of each drug could be combined in a single “polypill,” suitable for everyone age 55 and older plus those with existing heart disease or diabetes. The pill would be inexpensive and safe, with minimal side effects.
Wald notes that because the cardiovascular risk factors are high throughout Western society, there is much to gain little to lose by the widespread use of the polypill.
A five-year clinical trial is on the drawing board, and a patent application has been filed.
British Medical Journal, June 2003