Lowering the risk of suffering from a heart attack is a concern of everyone. Now, researchers may have found a pill combination that could reduce one's risk of suffering from cardiovascular-related illnesses, but comes at a low cheap price.
Known as the "polypill" approach, researchers discovered a combination of aspirin, with four cholesterol and blood pressure medications, that could lower the patient's risk of a stroke, heart attack, and other heart-related deaths. In a large-scale study, researchers found that it reduced the death rate by nearly one-third, and they expect the number to go higher through its use.
The study tested a combo pill called Polycap from an India-based pharmaceutical company, Cadila Pharmaceuticals Ltd. The pill contains three blood pressure medicines and statin, a cholesterol-lowering medicine. The blood pressure meds were ramipril, atenolol, and hydrochlorothiazide. In India, it is being sold at an affordable price of 33 cents per pill.
More than 5,700 people were enrolled by the researchers, coming from different countries. Participant countries include India, Philippines, Canada, Colombia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Tanzania. The required age for the men to be able to participate in the study was 50, and the women would have to be 55 at the very least. All participants were classified as moderate risk of heart ailments due to diabetes or high blood pressure.
The participants were divided into four groups. One group took 75 mg aspirin, which is considered a low-dose aspirin. Another group took the polypill alone. Still, another took both the polypill and the aspirin. The last one took placebo pills.
The study was meant to run for five years with a goal of including 7,000 people. However, circumstances like the pandemic caused issues, which forced the researchers to cut short their projected timetable. Four years into the study, they found that those who were on aspirin alone did not make a significant difference in the outcome. Those who had polypill showed some benefit but it wasn't that huge.
What captured the attention of researchers was that those who were on the polypill plus the aspirin, showed significant improvements. They saw a reduction in death and heart-related ailments by 31 percent. In terms of those who suffered from a heart problem, four percent of the group who took polypill and aspirin either died or suffered from a heart problem. On the other hand, those on placebo pills had a higher six percent rate of deaths.