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Aug 23, 2019

Cheap combo pill cuts heart, stroke risks, study finds

Posted by in category: biotech/medical

LONDON (AP) — A cheap daily pill that combines four drugs cut the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure in a large study, suggesting it could be a good way to help prevent heart problems especially in poor countries.

The pills contained two blood pressure drugs, a cholesterol medicine and aspirin. Many people can’t afford or don’t stick with taking so many medicines separately, so doctors think a polypill might help. A previous study testing one in India found it lowered cholesterol and blood pressure. The new study is much larger and gives stronger evidence because it tracked heart attacks, strokes and other problems — not just risk factors.

It involved about 6,800 people in Iran, ages 50–75, some with previous heart problems and others without them. All got advice on healthy lifestyles and half also were given polypills. After five years, 6% of those in the pill group had suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure versus 9% of the others. That worked out to a 34% lower risk with the polypill, and a 22% lower risk after researchers took into account other heart drugs that participants were taking.

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