[B]Inexpensive ‘Wonderpill’ Significantly Cuts Risk Of Heart Attack, Stroke[/b] BE WELL
Posted 17 November 2020 - 01:35 AM
A polypill comprising statins, multiple blood-pressure–lowering drugs, and aspirin has been proposed to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.
HAMILTON, Ontario — There’s good news for individuals looking for an inexpensive way to ensure a healthier heart. A “wonderpill” daily tablet containing four medicines can almost halve the risk of a heart attack or stroke and save milllions of lives, a study shows.
The cheap polypill, costing just pennies, is a cocktail of three blood pressure drugs and a lipid lowering medication. When taken with blood-thinning aspirin it cut cardiac arrests and brain hemorrhages by 40 percent. “This is the start of a transformational approach to preventing heart disease,” says in a university release. “We could save millions of people from experiencing serious heart disease or stroke each year with effective use of the polypill and aspirin.
Coronary heart disease and stroke are the top two causes of death worldwide, claiming about 18 million lives a year. More than 40 million people are impacted by cardiovascular events each year, including those who recover. Smoking, obesity and doing little exercise all increase the risk of an unhealthy heart.
“A polypill is not only effective, it is likely to be cost effective since it is based on using commonly used generic drugs,” explains co-principal investigator Prem Pais, of St John’s Medical College and Research Institute in Bangalore, India. “A polypill is convenient for patients to use as it combines several effective drugs in a single pill and is taken once a day, which would be expected to improve adherence.”
What is the polypill made of?
The study published in The New England Journal of Medicine involves 5,714 people from nine countries. Male participants were 50 or older and the women 55 or older. They were followed for an average of around four and a half years.
Participants who took the polypill alone instead of a placebo were 20 percent less likely to suffer a heart attack or stroke. Researchers say the protection double to 40 percent among those who also took an aspirin, compared to peers who received two dummy pills.
“In addition to stopping smoking, the most modifiable risk factors for cardiovascular disease are high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol. So we wanted to test a polypill along with aspirin, which has proven value in people with established vascular disease,” says Yusuf.
The polypill includes 40 mg of the cholesterol-reducing statin, simvastatin. The other drugs were 100 mg of atenolol, a beta blocker for high blood pressure, 10 mg of ramipril, also used for hypertension, and 25mg of a “water pill” or diuretic called hydrochlorothiazide. It can be combined with 75 mg of aspirin a day.
“The results of the study have implications for reducing the burden of cardiovascular diseases globally,” says Pais. “Even if only one third of eligible people receive a polypill, its use will likely avoid millions of individuals experiencing serious cardiovascular diseases worldwide. It also opens the way for a community based approach with health workers working under a physician’s supervision, enabling the pill to reach a large number of people.”
Aspirin improves outcomes in patients
The biggest benefit was seen in those who took the polypill along with aspirin. Only 4.1 percent experienced a serious cardiovascular event, compared to 5.8 percent of those who had the double placebo.
Of those who took just the polypill, 4.4 percent had a heart attack, stroke, heart surgery or died of cardiovascular problems. That’s compared to 5.5 percent who took the placebo. But this was more than twice the protection offered by aspirin, with incidence of 4.1 percent and 4.7 percent, respectively.
Of course, millions of people regularly take aspirin in the hope it will stave off a heart attack or stroke.
The polypill is already available in India and in a few countries in Africa. There are different polypills available in Europe, South America and South Korea, and new polypills are being developed in North America and China. “The use of the polypill widely will benefit people in both the rich and poor countries as there are major gaps in treatments in populations all over the world,” says second author Philip Joseph, a professor at McMaster.
Adds John Cairns, a cardiology expert and dean emeritus at the University of British Columbia: “We have recognized for a long time that primary prevention is important in cutting down heart attacks and strokes. These researchers have made a brilliant step ahead, with the factorial design testing the polypill with and without aspirin, and there is sufficient power in the study to know the results are very convincing, particularly about the use of the polypill along with aspirin.”
Story by SWNS reporter Mark Waghorn
The safety and scientific validity of this study is the responsibility of the study sponsor and investigators. Listing a study does not mean it has been evaluated by the U.S. Federal Government. Read our disclaimer for details.
Posted 24 November 2020 - 07:08 PM
The way this is done in practice is that you have an ECG, BP reading, and lab tests done. Then you try a 30-day combination of drugs using MINIMAL dosages -- drugs that do not interact. For the next 30 days, you monitor your BP daily and keep a log. You go back to the cardiologist, have another round of tests and continue the meds for a couple of days until the tests come back. The cardiologist then contacts you with long term prescriptions or with changes to your meds for another 30-day trial. This keeps repeating until the BP readings stabilize and the lab tests stabilize in term of things like cholesterol reduction. Then, you get another ECG done and you go on long-term meds.
You don't just take some "wonder pill" and hope it works. This is your HEART we are talking about, and if you screw that up with the wrong meds, you DIE!
Furthermore, taking hydrochlorothiazide is dangerous -- as it can push you into stage 4 kidney disease! I know someone personally who ended up being sent to a Nephrologist because of this problem.
And, the "standard" low-dose for Aspirin is 81mg, not 75mg. So, whomever wrote this is not even familiar with standard dosages.
Posted 15 December 2020 - 12:33 PM
I've unstable Angina and when the pain whacks you on the chest,
you just can never tell if it's Angina or fullblown heart attack.
Thoughtful of you to post it in though, humble3d.
I know it can be hard to accept cautious words however, don't be put off, in fact
it's good to know someone is covering your back.
Anything to do with, particularly, the old ticker, you must check it out first.
So again, please don't be put off by MPW's rock solid advise. He was only doing his duty.
In no way was it intented to hurt.
Best wishes to you.
This post has been edited by willtee: 15 December 2020 - 01:11 PM
Reason for edit: ''