New research shows that combining three heart medications in one “polypill” reduces the risk of dying from a second heart attack by 33%. Photo by Myriams-Fotos/Pixabay
In a discovery that proves convenience is key when it comes to sticking to a drug regimen, new research shows that combining three heart medications in one ‘polypill’ cuts heart rate by 33%. risk of dying from a second heart attack.
“The results of the SECURE study show that for the first time the polypill, which contains aspirin, ramipril [an ACE inhibitor]and atorvastatin [Lipitor]leads to clinically relevant reductions in recurrent cardiovascular events in people who have recovered from a previous heart attack through better adherence to this simplified approach with a simple polypill,” said lead researcher Dr. Valentin Fuster .
He is Director of Mount Sinai Heart and Chief Medical Officer of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
After a heart attack, patients are usually prescribed three different drugs: a antiplatelet agent (such as aspirin); ramipril or another antihypertensive; and a cholesterol-lowering drug, such as a statin. Unfortunately, less than 50% of patients take their medications as prescribed, the researchers noted.
“Although most patients initially adhere to treatment after an acute event such as heart attack [tissue death], adherence decreases after the first few months. Our goal was to have an impact early on, and most patients in the study started taking a single polypill within the first week after having a heart attack,” Fuster said.
For the study, his team randomly assigned nearly 2,500 men and women who had a heart attack to either the new drug (Trinomia) or the standard therapy. The average age of the participants was 76 years old.
Over three years of follow-up, researchers found that people taking Trinomia had an overall risk of heart attack, stroke, death from cardiovascular disease, or needing to have a procedure to open blocked coronary arteries of 24 % lower than patients receiving standard care. .
Even more impressively, Trinomia reduced the risk of dying from cardiovascular disease by 33 percent, the researchers noted. Patients taking Trinomia were also more likely to adhere to their drug regimen than those taking three pills.
“The results of the SECURE study suggest that the polypill may become an integral part of strategies for preventing recurrent cardiovascular events in patients who have had a heart attack,” Fuster said in a hospital press release. “By simplifying treatment and improving adherence, this approach has the potential to reduce the risk of recurrent cardiovascular disease and death globally.”
The polypill used in the study has not been approved by the United States Food and Drug Administration, The New York Times reported, but Fuster said the striking results would be submitted to the agency shortly with the aim of to get approval.
The results were presented Friday at the Congress of the European Society of Cardiology in Barcelona, and published simultaneously in the New England Journal of Medicine.
“Combination pills are easier on both the doctor and the patient, and the data is pretty clear — that translates into a benefit,” said Dr. Thomas Wang, chair of the department of internal medicine at UT Southwestern Medical Center. , who wrote an editorial accompanying the study, told the Times. “It’s easier to take one pill than multiple pills, and it’s easier to take them once a day than multiple times a day.”
To learn more about heart attacks, go to American Heart Association.
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