Features August 2011 Issue

Doubts Surround Study Results Touting Polypill’s Benefits

The experimental pill contains four heart medications.

The idea of combining all your heart medications in one super pill may seem appealing. Who wouldn’t want fewer pills to take, or fewer pills to remember to take? For years researchers around the world have explored the concept of a polypill that combined medications to help manage hypertension, high cholesterol and to help thin the blood for patients at a higher risk of clotting. A recent study out of Australia produced encouraging enough results that researchers claimed that if people took a polypill as a preventive measure, the incidence of heart disease and stroke could be reduced by half. The study, the first randomized, placebo-controlled study of a polypill, was published online May 25 in the journal PLoS One.

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