The use of preventive medications in people at high risk of cardiovascular disease is conceptually straightforward, yet in practice the adoption of such measures is disappointingly low, plus there is wide international variation in preventive therapies. Several barriers might explain this shortfall and variation, but the simplicity and economy of a polypill-based strategy might overcome some barriers. The 'Use of a Multidrug Pill In Reducing cardiovascular Events' (UMPIRE) trial assesses whether a polypill strategy (by combining aspirin, a statin and two blood pressure lowering agents) would improve adherence to guideline-indicated therapies and would lower both blood pressure and cholesterol, in people with established cardiovascular disease. UMPIRE, running in India and three European countries (England, Ireland and the Netherlands), is an open, randomised, controlled trial designed to include 1000 participants in India and 1000 in Europe, with a followup of 12-24 months. Participants were randomised to one of two versions of the polypill or relegated to usual care. The primary study outcomes were the self-reported use of aspirin, a statin and at least two blood pressure lowering agents; as well as changes in blood pressure and cholesterol. Secondary outcomes included: any cardiovascular events, reasons for stopping medications, serious adverse events and perceived changes in quality of life. Interpretation of the study data will be enhanced by health, economic and process-related evaluations. UMPIRE is registered with the European Clinical Trials database, as EudraCT: 2009-016278-34 and the Clinical Trials Registry, India as CTRI/2010/091/000250. The trial was part of the 'Single Pill Against Cardiovascular Events (SPACE)' collaboration, which encompasses the 'IMProving Adherence using Combination Therapy (IMPACT)' and 'Kanyini Guidelines Adherence with the Polypill (Kanyini-GAP)' trials.
Keywords: Polypill; adherence; cardiovascular disease; combination therapy; multicentre study; prevention.