Health impact of Polypill could be huge

July 18, 2012 at 9:36 PM

LONDON, July 18 (UPI) -- The Polypill -- three blood pressure medications and a statin for lower cholesterol -- given to adults age 50 and older was beneficial, British researchers say.

Researchers at the Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine at Barts and The London School of Medicine & Dentistry, part of Queen Mary, University of London, conducted a randomized placebo-controlled cross-over trial in which each person took the Polypill for three months and a placebo for three months, in random sequence.

The inventor of the Polypill, Professor Nicholas Wald, director of the Wolfson Institute, said this is the first trial using people selected on the basis of age alone without the need for a medical examination or tests. This could prevent first heart attacks and strokes in the general population without requiring a medical examination or special tests, Wald said.

The study, published in the PLoS One, found a 12 percent reduction in blood pressure and a 39 percent reduction in low-density lipoprotein, the "bad," cholesterol -- achieving levels typical of people age 20.

"The health implications of our results are large," Wald said in a statement. "If people took the Polypill from age 50, an estimated 28 percent would benefit by avoiding or delaying a heart attack or stroke during their lifetime; on average, those who benefit would gain 11 years of life without a heart attack or stroke."

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