Polypill Strategy May Improve Global Secondary Cardiovascular Prevention

Review shows polypill approach may overcome barriers to compliance, reduce costs

WASHINGTON (Aug. 4, 2014) — The polypill, a combination pill taken just once a day that includes key medications for secondary prevention of heart disease, may be an effective low-cost strategy to improve adherence to medication recommendations and reduce costs, according to researchers from Spain and New York, who reviewed research on the polypill.

The review article, A Polypill Strategy to Improve Global Secondary Cardiovascular Prevention, was published online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Cardiovascular disease is the leading global cause of death, accounting for 17.3 million deaths per year. As the population ages and patients with heart disease survive longer, a growing pool of patients could benefit from secondary prevention of heart disease.

Secondary prevention includes lifestyle changes and the use of medications—including statins, medications to reduce blood pressure, and antithrombotic agents. Use of these medications, which are generally low cost and safe, is thought to be responsible for half of the overall 50 percent reduction in mortality from heart disease in the past 20 years in some Western countries.

According to the study, there is room for improvement in secondary prevention, especially in nations with limited resources. The polypill, a combination pill taken just once a day that includes key medications for secondary prevention, has been proposed as a low-cost strategy to improve adherence and reduce costs.

The American College of Cardiology is a 47,000-member medical society that is the professional home for the entire cardiovascular care team. The mission of the College is to transform cardiovascular care and to improve heart health. The ACC leads in the formation of health policy, standards and guidelines. The College operates national registries to measure and improve care, provides professional medical education, disseminates cardiovascular research and bestows credentials upon cardiovascular specialists who meet stringent qualifications. For more information, visit cardiosource.org/ACC.

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