A 3-in-1 pill cuts strokes and heart related death

To test the polypill, a team of researchers from the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC) recruited 2,499 participants from seven countries. Participants were recruited following a heart attack and randomized into either taking Trinomia or a standard therapy, which involved taking each of the medicines separately.

Over the next three years, researchers found that patients taking the polypills had a 33% lower cardiovascular mortality rate than those taking the three drugs separately. There were 71 deaths in the group that received standard treatment, compared to 48 in the polypill group.

The team also kept track of four major cardiovascular events; death from heart-related issues, another non-fatal heart attack, a non-fatal stroke, and a blocked artery requiring revascularization. Results revealed that patients taking the polypill had a 24 percent lower risk of all four events than the other group.

Why is a single pill better than three?

The problem with multiple pills is that patients often do not stick to their medication regimens. Studies have shown that less than 50 percent of patients continue to take all their medications as instructed.

“Although most patients initially adhere to treatment after an acute event such as an infarction, adherence drops off after the first few months,” said Dr. Fuster, lead researcher on the trial.

That’s where polypills come in. It’s based on the theory that patients adhere to their treatment more when they only have to take one pill rather than multiple ones. Simply because it’s easier to take one pill than juggling all of the pills separately. A single pill also reduces the likelihood that a person will forget a potentially life-saving drug.

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