Heart Beat: Drug combinations best for heart disease

Heart Beat

Drug combinations best for heart disease

British researchers made a splash in 2003 when they suggested that everyone over age 55 should take a Polypill to prevent heart attack, stroke, and other cardiovascular conditions. This pill would contain aspirin, a cholesterol-lowering statin, the vitamin folic acid, and three blood pressure drugs — a diuretic, a beta blocker, and an ACE inhibitor.

Whether everyone needs this combination remains to be seen. Most of these drugs, though, clearly help people with heart disease. A report in the May 7, 2005, British Medical Journal suggests that the Polypill idea might be right for people with heart disease.

Drug or drug combination

Reduces risk of dying by:*

Statin + aspirin + beta blocker

83%

Statin + aspirin + beta blocker + ACE inhibitor

75%

Statin + aspirin + ACE inhibitor

71%

Statin alone

47%

Aspirin alone

41%

ACE inhibitor alone

20%

Beta blocker alone

19%

*compared with no medications

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