Background: A Polypill is proposed for the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in people judged to be at risk on account of their age alone. Its efficacy in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure is uncertain.
Methods: We conducted a randomized double-blind placebo-controlled crossover trial of a Polypill among individuals aged 50+ without a history of cardiovascular disease and compared the reductions with those predicted from published estimates of the effects of the individual drugs. Participants took the Polypill (amlodipine 2.5 mg, losartan 25 mg, hydrochlorothiazide 12.5 mg and simvastatin 40 mg) each evening for 12 weeks and a placebo each evening for 12 weeks in random sequence. The mean within-person differences in blood pressure and low density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol at the end of each 12 week period were determined.
Results: 84 out of 86 participants completed both treatment periods. The mean systolic blood pressure was reduced by 17.9 mmHg (95% CI, 15.7-20.1) on the Polypill, diastolic blood pressure by 9.8 mmHg (8.1-11.5), and LDL cholesterol by 1.4 mmol/L (1.2-1.6), reductions of 12%, 11%, and 39% respectively. The results were almost identical to those predicted; 18.4 mmHg, 9.7 mmHg, and 1.4 mmol/L respectively.
Conclusion: The Polypill resulted in the predicted reductions in blood pressure and LDL cholesterol. Long term reductions of this magnitude would have a substantial effect in preventing heart attacks and strokes.
Trial registration: Controlled-Trials.com ISRCTN36672232.