Polypill key to India’s battle against cardiovascular diseases: AIIMS study

Heart symbol with pills
Heart symbol with pills

Polypills are  multiple drugs in a single pill – so that the patient has to take less number of medicines which would minimise the chances of one pill being missed out

The humble polypill may be the answer to India’s battle with cardiovascular diseases (CVD), according to the findings of a research led by scientists from the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

A polypill is a medicine that has different drugs in one pill to minimise the chances of a patient missing out on his/her medications. It is particularly effective for diseases like CVDs in which a patient often has to take medicines for blood pressure, diabetes, cholesterol taking the total number of daily pills to a very high number.

The Use of Multidrug Pill IReducing cardiovascular Events (UMPIRE) trial, showed that access to a cardiovascular polypilll (aspirin, statin and two blood pressure lowering drugs) significantly improved adherence, lowered systolic blood pressure (SBP) and low density lipoprotein cholesterol in patients with or at high risk of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Systolic blood pressure is the upper blood pressure reading that measures the pressure when the heart is in a state of contraction. LDL cholesterols are what is known as “bad cholesterol”.

“The polypill strategy was cost-saving compared to usual care among patients with or at high risk of CVD in India.”

The study published in the journal Science Direct was carried out by scientists from All India Institute of Medical Sciences, Centre for Chronic Disease Control, India and the Public Health Foundation of India. They concluded: “The polypill strategy was cost-saving compared to usual care among patients with or at high risk of CVD in India.”

An update on the CVD incidence of India published in Circulation in 2016, said: “The Global Burden of Disease study estimate of age-standardized CVD death rate of 272 per 100 000 population in India is higher than the global average of 235 per 100 000 population. Some aspects of the CVD epidemic in India are particular causes of concern, including its accelerated buildup, the early age of disease onset in the population, and the high case fatality rate. In India, the epidemiological transition from predominantly infectious disease conditions to noncommunicable diseases has occurred over a rather brief period of time. Premature mortality in terms of years of life lost because of CVD in India increased by 59%, from 23.2 million (1990) to 37 million (2010).”