Letter to the editor: Americans need polypills
To lower costs, low-dose combo pills, or polypills, need to be available and then prescribed (“Cheap combo pill cuts heart, stroke risks, study finds,” Aug. 22, TribLIVE).
The five-year study of the combination of four low-dose drugs (two for blood pressure, one for cholesterol and aspirin) that lowered heart issues by one-third involved about 6,800 people in Iran, ages 50-75, some with previous heart problems. All participants received advice on healthy lifestyles, and half were given polypills. By the end of the study, 6% in the pill group had suffered a heart attack, stroke or heart failure, and 9% of the others had similar problems — showing a 34% lower risk with the polypill (22% lower risk after taking into account other heart drugs participants were taking).
A study of a three-dose polypill by the George Institute for Global Health in Australia showed quick and effective lowering of blood pressure. At the time the study results were presented (2018), such pills were not for sale in Australia, but the lead investigator noted that a low-dose combination pill was available in India.
It’s easier to take one pill a day. Assuming no concern for interactions, the only problem is that they are cheaper in the long run, so drug companies will resist. Note their recent resistance to low-dose aspirin (cheap since it’s a man-made version of a natural chemical).
Oh, if only a new safe generic start-up for polypills to compete with big Pharma could be started in the USA. Anybody out there?