New polypill could cut heart disease risk in half

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What is a polypill ?

A polypill is a way of combining a group of drugs that are then presented in a single capsule or tablet, and contains a number of targeted active ingredients. When taken together these have a beneficial effect on the specific medical condition, whilst reducing the number of different individual medicines to be taken.

This technique has been applied to heart disease medicines recently, resulting in a single heart disease ’super-pill’ which has been named ‘Polycap’. A recent study by McMaster University in Ontario, Canada has shown that taking this medicine could significantly cut the risk of heart attack and stroke in the study group of volunteers aged over 50 years.

What does the Polycap pill contain ?

The pills contain a total of five different types of popular different types of heart disease medications:-




  • Diuretic – helps to lower blood pressure by eliminating sodium from the body by increasing urination
  • Ace Inhibitor – this class of medicine reduces the levels of a type of enzyme that has been shown to increase blood pressure levels
  • Beta Blocker – used to treat high blood pressure by making the heart beat more slowly, and reducing strain on the heart
  • Statin – to lower levels of LDL, or ‘bad’ blood cholesterol and prevent the build up of fatty plaques on the arterial walls
  • Aspirin – proven to have a thinning effect on the blood, and an effective anti-clotting drug

What benefits does the Polycap pill offer to the heart disease patient ?

The main benefits of this new combined pill are likely to be experienced by middle aged people, and are listed below :-

  • Lower blood pressure
  • Lower levels of harmful cholesterol (LDL)
  • Reduced risk of blood clotting that can result in stroke
  • Lower heart rate
  • A Single pill is easier to take than multiple pills or tablets, and less prone to missed or mis-dosage

The predicted overall effect of the reduction in all the above risk factors leads the experts to conclude that the polypill will cut the risk of heart attack and stroke by up to 50 percent.

How much does the heart polypill cost ?

This combined heart disease medication could be very cost effective, at less than two dollars a day per person. Applying some simple economics to the heart disease statistics – in the United Kingdom the cost of high blood pressure and heart attacks is calculated to be 21 billion dollars annually. If this medication was made available to the millions of people in the ‘at-risk’ group for heart disease, the cost would be approximately 9 billion dollars.

When can I get a prescription for the polypill ?

This medicine is likely to be available to everyone within five years, following essential widespread clinical trials to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the drugs when used in combination.

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