In a recent study published in The Lancet, researchers found that an inexpensive therapy that includes four common drugs could help prevent heart attacks, strokes and heart failure.
The therapy includes two blood pressure drugs, one cholesterol medicine, and aspirin.
The researchers say that many people can’t afford or don’t stick with taking so many medicines separately, so doctors think a polypill might help.
One author of the study is Prof Reza Malekzadeh, MD.
Previous research had found that the treatment could help reduce blood cholesterol and blood pressure.
In this study, the team examined the effects of the drug combo on the risks of heart attacks, strokes, and other problems. They tested about 6,800 people 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 a 70% lower risk of heart risks.
The team says 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.
If you care about heart health and stroke, please read studies about what 3,000 steps in 30 minutes could do to your heart and findings of this diabetes drug may harm your heart health.
For more information about heart health and stroke prevention, please see recent studies about three common prescribed drugs may increase stroke risk by 60% and results showing that stroke is highly preventable.
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