19 July 2012
An all-in-one “polypill” with the potential to save lives could be available in the UK in less than two years.
Results from a ground-breaking trial showed that the four-medicine pill dramatically reduced major risk factors for heart attacks and strokes.
In a group of healthy individuals aged 50 and over, it cut levels of blood pressure and cholesterol to those typical of a 20-year-old.
If everyone in the UK from a similar age group took the pill, the findings suggested 100,000 to 200,000 deaths would be prevented.
The number of averted non-fatal cases, including many involving life-changing disablement, could be double this figure.
Experts called for the polypill to be made generally available to the UK population “without delay”.
Realistically it could take another one to two years for all the regulatory hurdles to be overcome, according to study leader Dr David Wald, from Queen Mary, University of London.
The polypill is a layered tablet containing three blood pressure-lowering drugs and a cholesterol-lowering statin.