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


Statin + aspirin + beta blocker + ACE inhibitor


Statin + aspirin + ACE inhibitor


Statin alone


Aspirin alone


ACE inhibitor alone


Beta blocker alone


*compared with no medications

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