Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?

What is the polypill? Can it prevent or treat heart disease?

Answer From Rekha Menkad, (MD)

The term "polypill" describes a combination tablet of several medicines commonly used to treat heart disease and high blood pressure. 

Doctors are not yet sure of the optimal drug combination that can be used in the Polypill tablets. They are likely to include low doses of the following medications:

Polypill: Does it treat heart disease?


Cholesterol-lowering drugs (statins)

Medicines that make the heart beat less forcefully

blood pressure-lowering drugs

The "PolyBell" tablet is still being studied. It is not currently available for sale in the United States. 

But studies show that combination medication helps people stick to their treatment plan better. 

This may be because it is easier to remember to take one medication rather than several.

Polypill tablets also appear to be effective in lowering blood pressure and cholesterol levels. Longer-term studies need to be done to show whether the combination drug will reduce deaths from heart disease and stroke as well.

There may be some concern that Polypil tablets will have more side effects than individual medications. 

However, there are recent clinical trials that have shown low rates of side effects for Polypil tablets. Possible side effects included coughing, muscle pain, and stomach irritation.

One of the serious drawbacks of these tablets is that it is not possible to adjust the doses of the drug in them. 

This defect can be overcome by obtaining more than one type of "Poly-Pel" tablet.

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