19/07/2012 - RPS comments on heart disease polypill
Responding to the results of a UK study published in the PLoS One journal that a "polypill" combining a statin with blood pressure drugs could prevent thousands of heart attacks and strokes every year, Helen Williams, cardiac medicines spokesperson for the Royal Pharmaceutical Society, said:
“The polypill may have some promise but we’ve got to remember that this study is based on 86 people and we’d need to see evidence in 10-20,000 more before we could consider medicating all people over the age of 50 to reduce their risk of the heart attacks and strokes.
“It’s tricky to identify the correct group of patients for this type of intervention and we’re in danger of giving a message that all you need to do when you get to 50 is take a tablet and your problems will be sorted out. There’s much more to healthy living then just taking a tablet and lifestyle is so important for reducing risk of heart attacks and strokes - eating healthily, doing physical activity, not smoking and maintaining a good bodyweight.
“Essentially, all of these tablets are already available at a reasonably cheap cost. Combining them into one tablet may make life easier for people but ultimately, at a greater cost than we’d have to pay for individual drugs themselves.
“We don’t really know the exact role that this polypill may play in future healthcare. We need much bigger studies, in larger groups of patients to draw any conclusions and we should also focus on getting younger adults to adopt healthier habits to prevent cardiovascular disease developing in later life”.
The story features on the BBC website.