Body & Fitness

Super pill the key to living longer

Imagine if there was a super pill that could add years to your life, while at the same time eliminating the need for heart disease sufferers to take a cocktail of drugs.
Super pill

Well, some of the world’s top scientists think they’ve come up with just that.

With heart disease killing 17 million people globally each year, experts say the problem is made worse than it needs to be by patients failing to take the required raft of prescribed medication.

That’s why a four-in-one tablet that carries two forms of blood pressure drugs, statins and aspirin, could be the answer.

The polypill, as it’s known, has been successfully trialled and those leading the study now want to see it licenced across the globe.

Research presented to the World Heart ­Federation revealed people are more likely to take a single, fixed-dose pill than four separate tablets.

It also showed that out of the 3140 patients from Europe, Australia and India who took part in the drug trial, more than three-quarters of those at high risk of a heart attack were still taking the single pill a year later, compared with just over half of patients on drugs as they are normally prescribed.

As a result, researchers found the blood pressure and cholesterol of those taking the polypill fell by a “modest but highly statistically significant” amount, compared with patients on standard treatments.

Ruth Webster, of the George Institute for Global Health in ­Sydney, which led research, told Express UK that most patients either don’t start or don’t continue taking all the medications they need, which can lead to untimely death or further cardiovascular events.

This is an issue of scale. “On an individual level the polypill may not make a massive difference – compared with four separate pills – but on a population level when you’re talking about 100 million people globally who aren’t taking their medication as they should, then it could start to become significant,” Ruth said.

Professor Salim Yusuf, of the World Heart Federation, said the drug will improve patient access to essential medications at an affordable cost. It is hoped a polypill will cost as little as $1.80 per pill and could be available within two years, after the research found it would be markedly cheaper than continuing to prescribe multiple drugs.

It’s predicted wide use of the polypill could therefore avoid several millions of premature cardiovascular events.

Related stories