Polypills May Reduce Blood Pressure and LDL Cholesterol

Considerable side effects observed, but most are mild and do not warrant therapy cessation

THURSDAY, May 26 (HealthDay News) -- Use of combination cardiovascular medications, or polypills, is associated with significant reductions in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, according to a study published online May 25 in PLoS One.

Anthony Rodgers, M.B.Ch.B., Ph.D., from the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney, Australia, and colleagues from the Program to Improve Life and Longevity Collaborative Group investigated the effectiveness and tolerability of polypills containing 75 mg aspirin, 10 mg lisinopril, 12.5 mg hydrochlorothiazide, and 20 mg simvastatin. The investigators randomly assigned 378 individuals with an estimated five-year cardiovascular risk of over 7.5 percent, but without an indication for any component of the polypill to treatment with polypill or placebo. The changes in SBP, LDL cholesterol, and tolerability (measured as the proportion who discontinued randomized therapy) were evaluated at a 12-week follow-up.

The investigators found that, with polypill use, SBP was significantly reduced by 9.9 mm Hg, from 134 mm Hg at baseline, and LDL cholesterol was significantly reduced by 0.8 mmol/L, from 3.7 mmol/L at baseline. Treatment discontinuation rates were similar in the polypill and placebo groups (23 and 18 percent, respectively). Side effects of component medicines were seen in significantly more participants from the polypill group than the placebo group (58 versus 42 percent), but these were mostly mild and did not necessitate treatment cessation.

"These results show that treatment with this polypill achieved sizeable reductions in SBP and LDL cholesterol. These risk-factor reductions, together with the findings of systematic reviews of the component medicines, indicate that this treatment can be expected to more than halve cardiovascular risk," the authors write.

Polypills and placebo were provided free-of-charge by Dr. Reddy's Laboratories.

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