Research News

Impact of polypill difficult to demonstrate from varied studies, say Cochrane reviewers

BMJ 2014; 348 doi: (Published 17 April 2014) Cite this as: BMJ 2014;348:g2819
  1. Ingrid Torjesen
  1. 1London

Inconsistencies in the design of studies investigating the potential of polypills to prevent cardiovascular disease make the impact of these pills difficult to prove, a systematic review by the Cochrane Collaboration has found. However, the reviewers are confident that polypills do have a role in protecting large populations against cardiovascular disease.

Polypills combine a variety of fixed dose drugs, including a statin, at least one blood pressure lowering drug, and sometimes aspirin, into one pill. The largest review of evidence to date by the Cochrane Collaboration has found that polypills have yet to be shown to reduce mortality or events such as heart attacks and stroke, but that they do reduce risk markers for these events, such as blood pressure and cholesterol.1 One trial also suggested that taking a polypill rather than a drug combination as individual pills increased adherence to treatment by up to 33%.

Mark Huffman, cardiologist and assistant professor in preventive medicine and medicine-cardiology at Northwestern University Feinberg …

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