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'Polypill' study - BPA comment

In a research study that is being hailed as a breakthrough in the prevention of stroke and heart disease, a five-in-one combination 'polypill' has been shown to be just as effective as five individual tablets at reducing risk factors like blood pressure.

The polypill (or 'Polycap') contains three blood pressure medicines, as well as a statin and aspirin. In a trial which took place in India, 412 healthy volunteers tooks the Polycap and over 2000 volunteers took individual blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering tablets, over a 12-week period. Each volunteer had one 'risk factor' for heart disease and stroke, such as high blood pressure.

The results of the trial showed that the Polycap reduced blood pressure and heart rate as effectively as the individual tablets. Cholesterol was reduced, but not quite as much as with the statin on its own.

The study's authors claim that if people at a low to moderate risk of heart disease and stroke were given the Polycap to take regularly, it could lower the number of strokes and heart attacks by up to half.

Mike Rich, Executive Director of UK charity the Blood Pressure Association, said: "This study further stimulates the debate over whether a 'magic bullet' is the answer to the prevention of heart disease and strokes. Eating healthily and taking regular exercise are proven ways to lower high blood pressure - and have many other health benefits too - and there is a danger that these lifestyle factors could be overlooked in favour of 'popping a pill'.

"We look forward with interest to see if the researchers' theory of this polypill halving strokes and heart attacks in middle-aged people can be realised in practice."

Source: American College of Cardiology Conference 2009 

Notes to editors:

For further information from the Blood Pressure Association, contact Anna Cureton at the BPA's Press Office on 020 8772 4993.

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