People more likely to take heart medicines in combo pill

November 6, 2012, American Heart Association

People are much more likely to take heart medicines if they're combined in one pill, according to a late-breaking clinical trial presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2012.

"This is the first time the impact of a fixed-dose, combination strategy has been tested in people with cardiovascular disease," said Simon Thom, M.D., F.R.C.P., lead author of the Use of a Multidrug Pill In Reducing (UMPIRE) trial and professor of and pharmacology at Imperial College London, U.K.

"People who have suffered heart attacks or strokes or those at high risk of such problems need to take preventive medications, including antiplatelet drugs (such as aspirin), cholesterol-lowering and blood pressure-lowering drugs. But the reality is that many people in this high-risk category get out of the habit of taking the recommended medications," Thom said. "This happens for a variety of reasons; some of which may be corrected by a single, simple, fixed dose – a combination known as a '.'"

There has been uncertainty about a fixed dose combination strategy for cardiovascular disease prevention. While many physicians have anticipated that adherence might be improved, the reduced number of drugs and doses could offset the benefits of simplicity, Thom said.

"This trial showed improvements in adherence being paralleled by improvements in blood pressure and cholesterol, despite the control group in the trial being treated much better than average."

Typically, in high-income countries such as the United States only about 50 percent of people take all the needed , Thom said. In low- and middle-income countries, only 5 percent to 20 percent do.

Researchers studied whether changing the delivery of several medications into one fixed-dose, combination pill might improve adherence and, therefore, improve blood pressure and cholesterol control. The researchers followed more than 2,000 men and women (average age 62) with cardiovascular disease in Europe and India for an average 15 months. Half of the participants were given a combination pill of aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering agent (statin) and two blood pressure-lowering drugs. The other half took their medications as usual, with multiple pills and doses.

Researchers noted that the group taking a single pill improved adherence by a third and had improved blood pressure and cholesterol levels compared to those taking multiple pills.

The findings also likely apply to Americans, Thom said. "We deliberately chose two quite different settings – Western Europe and India, with half the patients from each region, although the trial did include well-treated populations in both locations. Seeing broadly similar findings in each region suggests generalizability."

Similar trials are being conducted in Australia and New Zealand.

Explore further: International trial finds polypill halves predicted heart disease and stroke risk

More information: newsroom.heart.org/pr/aha/document/DISCLOSURES.pdf
www.mylifecheck.org/

Related Stories

International trial finds polypill halves predicted heart disease and stroke risk

May 25, 2011
The world's first international polypill trial has shown that a four-in-one combination pill can halve the predicted risk of heart disease and stroke. The results are published online today in the open access journal PLoS ...

Take your blood pressure meds before bed

October 24, 2011
It's better to take blood pressure-lowering medications before bed rather than first thing in the morning, according to a study appearing in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American Society Nephrology (JASN). The ...

Recommended for you

No sweat required: Team finds hypertension treatment that mimics effect of exercise

October 16, 2018
Couch potatoes rejoice—there might be a way to get the blood pressure lowering benefits of exercise in pill form.

New model suggests cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitoring possible using pulse waves

October 16, 2018
A large team of researchers from several institutions in China and the U.S. has developed a model that suggests it should be possible to create a cuffless, non-invasive blood pressure monitor based on measuring pulse waves. ...

Why heart contractions are weaker in those with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

October 16, 2018
When a young athlete suddenly dies of a heart attack, chances are high that they suffer from familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Itis the most common genetic heart disease in the US and affects an estimated 1 in 500 ...

Novel genetic study sheds new light on risk of heart attack

October 12, 2018
Loss of a protein that regulates mitochondrial function can greatly increase the risk of myocardial infarction (heart attack), Vanderbilt scientists reported Oct. 3 in the journal eLife.

Researchers say ritual for orthodox Jewish men may offer heart benefits

October 11, 2018
A pilot study led by researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine suggests Jewish men who practice wearing tefillin, which involves the tight wrapping of an arm with leather banding as part of daily ...

Markers of dairy fat consumption linked to lower risk of type two diabetes

October 10, 2018
Higher levels of biomarkers of dairy fat consumption are associated with a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes, according to new research published today in PLOS Medicine. The study, in more than 60,000 adults, was undertaken ...

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.