A low-cost, all-in-one pill that combines medicines to lower cholesterol and blood pressure in an attempt to cut heart attacks and strokes has gone on trial.
The international trial will investigate whether the “polypill”, which contains drugs such as aspirin and blood pressure and cholesterol-lowering statins, can reduce the risk of heart problems.
A previous trial in India found the number of heart attacks and strokes was halved by similar cost-effective drugs.
The new trial, on 2,000 at-risk volunteers, will test how the Red Heart Pill can be used in the UK, as well as developing countries. It is being tested in London, Ireland and Holland, and will later be tested in India.
Trials began earlier in the year in New Zealand and Australia and there are plans for further trials in Brazil, Canada, China and South Africa.
The UK centre for the trial, called UMPIRE (Use of a Multidrug Pill In Reducing Cardiovascular Events), is at Imperial College London.
Professor Simon Thom, co-principal investigator on the study from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College, said: “Polypills are being used successfully to treat other diseases like tuberculosis and HIV, but we don’t yet know whether they could be effective in those with cardiovascular problems.”