Polypill , is it a good idea ?
A recent study evaluated the potential benefit of taking one pill containing 4 different medications, Amilodipine 2.5 mg ,Losartan 25 mg , Hydrochorothiazide 12.5 mg and Simvastatin 40 mg in individuals 50 plus years old without any history of heart disease compared to a placebo.
The group receiving the polypill results;
systolic blood pressure - reduced 17.9mmhg
diastolic blood pressure - reduced 9.8 mmhg
LDL cholesterol - reduced 44.8 mg/dl ( 1.4 mm/l )
7 % of people in the study had side effects to one or more of the drugs in the pill but only 3% stopped
treatment because of the pill.
My thoughts on the polypill
1 pill vs 4 pills a day is not a bad idea and would probable increase taking medication compliance. My primary objection would be dealing with a serious side effect and trying to decide which medication caused the problem.
Making the polypill available over the counter without a prescription is another idea discussed in the article. Providing unsupervised use of 4 potent prescription only medications is an accident waiting to happen.
A few potential problems to consider.
Hydrocholothiazde can depletes body stores of potassium causing muscle weakness, heart problems . Loss of fluid can cause dizziness , low blood pressure and risk of falling
Losartan can be associated with difficult to detect angioedema and high potassium levels
Simvastatin can be associated with muscle and liver problems
I think I will stick with 4 pills a day
more on angioedema see the april 19 blog
Have fun , be Smart and remember all medications have side effects
David S. Wald, Joan K. Morris, Nicholas J. Wald*