3 Cardiovascular Medications, 1 Pill

Pills in HandWouldn’t it be wonderful if a single pill could include multiple medications?  Ok, there are some on the market.  But what if the pill contained several evidence-based medications to reduce the risk of heart attacks and strokes?  Sound to good to be true? 

Actually, people in the SMART study at the University Medical Center Utrecht, Demark have been using a “polypill” with great success with coronary artery disease patients.  The low-cost pill contains aspirin, a statin, and a blood pressure-lowering medication and has reduced death rates for heart attacks and strokes. 

Ok. Now you can say, “Why didn’t I invent that?”

Several studies show combination medications to be safe and effective at reducing cardiovascular risk in patients with low and intermediate risk.

During a median overall follow-up of 5 years, the combination of all three drugs was associated with a:

  • 32% lower risk of myocardial infarction
  • 63% lower risk of ischemic stroke
  • 34% lower risk of the composite vascular end point
  • 47% lower risk of vascular mortality
  • 31% lower risk of all-cause mortality

All reductions were statistically significant when compared with no combination therapy.  (Boggs, 2013 – Medscape Nurses)

Think about the benefits this polypill would provide through improved medication adherence!

  • Studies show adherence is significantly related to the number of prescribed pills a day and complexity of schedule
  • Expense of medications affect the lower socio-economic  population
  • Patients would be ordered evidence-based treatment and not missing one of the components

The polypill is not a “wonder drug” but rather a vehicle to provide multiple medications in one dose. For more information, visit the Medscape website.

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