New tri-layered tablet to prevent heart attack, stroke among aged: study

Updated: 2012-07-20 10:05


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A four-component polypill could bring substantial health benefits to people aged 50 and over, giving them an average of 11 years of life without a heart attack or stroke, a new British clinic trial showed.

Queen Mary University of London on Thursday issued a statement saying its researchers invented a polypill -- a tri-layered tablet -- containing three blood pressure lowering medicines and a statin for lowering cholesterol. Blood cholesterol and blood pressure are main causes of heart attack and stroke.

It was given to people without a history of cardiovascular disease aged 50 or more. They experienced a 12 percent reduction in blood pressure and a 39 percent reduction in harmful cholesterol, according to the study published in the journal PLoS One.

"The health implications of our results are large. If people took the polypill from age 50, an estimated 28 percent would benefit by avoiding or delaying a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime," said Dr David Wald, principle investigator of the trial at Queen Mary.

"On average, those who benefit would gain 11 years of life without a heart attack or stroke."

The study was a randomized placebo-controlled trial, whose design could produce highly accurate and reliable results.

The researchers are now calling for regulatory support to make the polypill available to the public, saying that even if only 50 percent of people aged 50 or more took the pill, about 94,000 heart attacks and strokes would be prevented each year in Britain.