AN all-in-one tablet can slash the risk of heart attack and stroke by 25 per cent, a study has revealed.
Researchers in Nashville, Tennessee, tested 303 adults, three-quarters of who were from low incomes, for a year in Mobile, Alabama, US.
“Polypills” for prevention of cardiovascular disease have previously been studied in low and middle-income countries where other health care barriers exist, according to the research team.
Study senior author Professor Thomas Wang, said: “The pill may address some of the barriers that contribute to disparities in health based on geography, socio-economic class and other parameters that we know have existed in this country and other countries for a while now.”
Prof Wang, chief of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Centre (VUMC), added: “Despite advances in the prevention and treatment of cardiovascular disease, it remains the No.1 global killer of both men and women.”
Half of those in the trial were assigned to take a daily polypill for 12 months and the other half assigned to continue their usual routine medical care.
The participants underwent a standard medical exam, blood pressure measurement, and blood cholesterol testing during their initial visit, a two-month visit, and a 12-month visit.
At the end of the year, study participants who had taken the polypill had decreased blood pressure by an average of 7 mm Hg and reduced LDL – or “bad” – cholesterol levels as compared with participants in the usual care group.
This translated to an estimated 25 per cent reduction in the risk of experiencing a cardiovascular event.
Study lead author Dr Daniel Muñoz, a cardiologist at VUMC, said: “Patients seeking care at community health centres have traditionally been under-represented in clinical trials.
“We need to better understand what works and what doesn’t in these settings so we can improve outcomes for our fellow citizens who may be the most vulnerable.”