Heart attack, stroke prevention in a pill

January 5, 2011 By Alex Fernandes

(PhysOrg.com) -- A groundbreaking trial of a one-stop-pill to prevent heart attacks and strokes in people over 50 is being launched at Queen Mary, University of London yesterday.

The pill, which contains components to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, could play a key role in reducing the population’s incidence of heart attacks and strokes, according to researchers at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, part of Queen Mary’s Barts and the London School of Medicine and Dentistry.

People aged over 50 are being invited to participate in the trial where they would take a placebo for 12 weeks and the polypill for 12 weeks without knowing which one they are taking in each 12-week period (otherwise known as a randomised cross-over trial).

This is the first trial of a polypill offered to people on the basis of their age; a person’s starting blood pressure or cholesterol is not a factor in the selection process.

Dr. David Wald, one of the researchers conducting the trial at the Wolfson Institute said: “The polypill has the potential to be a daily preventive method against heart attacks and strokes, just as the contraceptive pill is a daily preventive method to avoid an unwanted pregnancy. This trial is a step towards making access to the polypill a reality.

“The polypill concept was first proposed in 2003 but until now has not been introduced using a single pill. The trial will assess the acceptability and efficacy of the new pill.”

There are four components to the polypill: three to lower blood pressure at half standard dose (losartan hydrochlorthiazide and amlodopine) and one to reduce cholesterol (simvastatin), at standard dose. The components and their doses were selected to maximise the efficacy in preventing cardiovascular disease while minimizing side
effects.

“The trial will determine how effective the polypill is in reducing and serum . From previous research showing the effects of the individual components taken separately we anticipate that this would prevent more than two-thirds of heart attacks and strokes,” Dr. Wald said.

Less than 100 participants are needed to take part in the trial due to the efficiency of the cross-over design.

The polypill has been specially formulated for the research team by Cipla, an Indian pharmaceutical company.

More information: Professor Sir Nicholas Wald and Professor Malcolm Law from the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine first proposed the concept of a polypill in a paper published in the British Medical Journal in 2003.

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Drug for spinal muscular atrophy prompts ethical dilemmas, bioethicists say

December 11, 2017
When the Food and Drug Administration approved the first drug for people with spinal muscular atrophy a year ago, clinicians finally had hope for improving the lives of patients with the rare debilitating muscular disease. ...

FDA's program to speed up drug approval shaved nearly a year off the process

December 7, 2017
Speeding the pace at which potentially lifesaving drugs are brought to market was a rallying cry for Donald Trump as a candidate, and is a stated priority of his Food and Drug Administration commissioner, Dr. Scott Gottlieb. ...

Dangers of commonly prescribed painkillers highlighted in study

December 6, 2017
Commonly prescribed painkillers need to be given for shorter periods of time to reduce the risk of obesity and sleep deprivation, a new study has revealed.

Viagra goes generic: Pfizer to launch own little white pill

December 6, 2017
The little blue pill that's helped millions of men in the bedroom is turning white. Drugmaker Pfizer is launching its own cheaper generic version of Viagra rather than lose most sales when the impotence pill gets its first ...

Surgery-related opioid doses can drop dramatically without affecting patients' pain

December 6, 2017
Some surgeons might be able to prescribe a third of opioid painkiller pills that they currently give patients, and not affect their level of post-surgery pain control, a new study suggests.

Four-fold jump in deaths in opioid-driven hospitalizations

December 4, 2017
People who end up in the hospital due to an opioid-related condition are four times more likely to die now than they were in 2000, according to research led by Harvard Medical School and published in the December issue of ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.