Washington: A new study on heart patients in India has revealed that a “superpill” — containing aspirin to combat clotting, a cholesterol-lowering statin and three blood pressure-lowering drugs — could halve rates of attacks and strokes.
Polycap, a five-drug “polypill”, is a simple one-pack combination of drugs proven to reduce cardiovascular events into a single superpill that is easy to take and cheap to purchase.
The researchers unveiling the report at the American College of Cardiology’s annual meeting said that the trial recruited 2,053 adults (age 45 to 80) at 50 centers from India, the MedPage Today reported.
Criteria included no history of cardiovascular disease and just one risk factor. Participants were randomised to the polypill — thiazide (12.5mg), atenolol (50mg), ramipril (5 mg), simvastatin (20 mg) and aspirin (100mg), the researchers said.
Patients were given the study drug for 12 weeks. To lessen the risk of hypotension, patients were randomised to an arm that included ramipril and initiated at a dose of 2.5 mg for seven days then titrated up to 5 mg, the medical news provider said.
Combining three antihypertensives, a statin, and an aspirin in a single, five-drug capsule appears to achieve the same benefit as giving the drugs individually, although the statin in the combination was slightly less effective.
The success of a “polypill” could have broad implications for treatment, said Salim Yusuf, co-chair and principal investigator of the The Indian Polycap Study (TIPS).
It would be cheaper to buy and easier to administer than individual drugs — particularly in developing countries, he said.
“The primary outcomes were reductions in blood pressure for antihypertensive drugs, LDL for the statin, heart rate for the beta blocker, and urinary 11-dehydrothromboxane B2 for antiplatelet effects of aspirin.
“But even those more modest reductions reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by 24% and stroke risk by 33%,” Yusuf said