Polypill may help prevent cardiovascular disease in patients 50 years and older

Researchers have found that so-called cardiovascular “polypills” may be effective as primary therapy to prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) in patients aged 50 years and older.

“This is an important study but should not be considered as proof of concept, as the authors themselves have acknowledged several limitations, including lack of generalizability. We will need large outcome trials before we can recommend a polypill for this indication.”
-Dorairaj Prabhakaran, MD, executive director of the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, New Delhi, India

Key Point: Although this study of a polypill for cardiovascular disease prevention shows promising results, it is a small-scale study and long-term benefits are still uncertain. Physicians should counsel patients on the value of a healthful diet and regular exercise as first-line preventive strategies against cardiovascular disease.

A polypill is a fixed-dosed combination medication that typically contains 4 drugs to treat CVD, such as antihypertension agents, a diuretic, and a statin. This combination medication was initially envisioned to be used in secondary prevention, but recent practice has evolved for polypills to also be used for primary preventive therapy. This is an expansion of the practice by some physicians to prescribe statins to otherwise healthy patients who are at high risk for myocardial infarction or stroke because they have multiple cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity and significant family history.

The Indian population is particularly genetically susceptible to CVD, which has...

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