Polypill combines four medications and may cut the risk heart disease

With heart disease is the leading cause of death in the United States, according to the CDC, continuous research is being done to help address the issue.

High blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, and smoking are key risk factors for heart disease, according to the CDC. Also playing a factor is genetics and unhealthy lifestyle choices, which may lead to obesity or the development of diabetes.

Dr. Stephen Wasemiller, Cardiologist with Monument Health, says, “It’s very difficult for a lot of people to overcome the urge to have fast food or to smoke or to stay sedentary and that is probably the biggest cause for the development of cardiovascular disease. ”

Findings recently came out from a five year long Canadian study which followed over 57 hundred people who were an an intermediate risk of developing heart disease. It found that participants who took a daily pill that combined blood pressure and cholesterol medication are 21 percent less likely to develop heart disease.

In the study, participants who took the polypill along with aspirin reduced heart related problems by nearly a third.

New findings like this study, Wasemiller says, pose as a tool and a challenge for physicians, saying, “As physicians we always approach new things with a little hesitancy because we don’t really want to do something until it’s been proven; it’s been established and practiced and known to be a safe and effective therapy.”

One drawback is that medication dosages can’t be adjusted in a polypill, which may result in more than one type of polypill being developed.

Blood pressure check

A positive aspect is more patients, adhering to their treatment as it may be easier to take one medication rather than multiple ones.

Wasemiller says the polypill could be useful for specific patient populations, but not every patients will benefit, saying, “You can still be told information that is technically accurate but it may not represent the truest benefit that you think that a certain test or pill or study provides.”

The polypill is still being studied, and it is not currently available for sale in the United States.

Healthy Eating

Choosing healthy habits to help prevent heart disease is key. Choosing healthy foods and drinks, keep a healthy weight, get regular physical activity and not smoking lower your chances of developing heart disease.

Always discuss with your primary care giver what combination of therapies is right for you.

Categories: Wellness Wednesdays