In a new study, researchers found an inexpensive treatment that combines four drugs could reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.
The treatment includes two blood pressure drugs, one cholesterol medicine, and aspirin.
The finding may help develop an effective way to prevent heart problems.
The research was conducted by a team from Tehran University of Medical Sciences and other institutes.
The team says many people can’t afford or don’t stick with taking so many medicines separately, so doctors think a polypill might help.
Previous research has shown that the treatment could help reduce blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
In the new study, the team examined the effects of the drug combo on the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other problems.
The team examined about 6,800 people in Iran, ages 50-75. Some with previous heart problems and others without them.
All the people got advice on healthy lifestyles and half of them also were given the drug combo.
The drug combo contained hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg, aspirin 81 mg, atorvastatin 20 mg, and enalapril 5 mg.
The team found after five years, 6% of those in the drug combo group had suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure versus 9% of the people who did not use the treatment.
This means a 34% lower risk with the drug combo, and a 22% lower risk after the researchers removed the effects of other heart drugs that participants were taking.
Moreover, people who took the drug combo faithfully had at least 70% lower risk of heart risks.
The team explains that the benefit mostly comes from lowering cholesterol and the blood pressure didn’t change much.
They hope the drug combo could be an effective way to prevent heart disease in developing countries.
But the benefits may be minimal for people who already have access to good health care.
One author of the study is Prof Reza Malekzadeh, MD.
The study is published in the British journal Lancet.
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