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07/02/2003 - News

A single pill to reduce heart risk?

By: Susan Aldridge, medical journalist, PhD

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A designer tablet containing a cocktail of drugs to reduce heart risk factors could cut heart attacks and strokes dramatically.

The benefits of aspirin, statins and blood-pressure lowering drugs in controlling risk factors for heart disease are now well known. But that can mean people having to take a lot of pills. Why not combine them all into one tablet - say researchers in London and New Zealand? They have studied over 750 trials of preventive medication involving 400,000 or so participants. This lead them to draw up a formula for the ultimate preventive pill - aspirin, a statin, low dose of three different blood pressure tablets and folic acid. Taken together, these would reduce blood stickiness, blood pressure, cholesterol and homocysteine.

If given to all people over 55, you could see a reduction of 80 per cent in heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular problems, the researchers predict. There'd be no more need to measure and treat risk factors such as high blood pressure individually. Instead, practically everyone would just take this one pill. Trials are already being planned, to see if this approach is safe and effective.

Source

British Medical Journal 28th June 2003

Created on: 07/02/2003
Reviewed on: 07/02/2003

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