A fixed-dose combination therapy (polypill strategy) has been proposed as an approach to reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease, especially in low-income and middle-income countries.
The study aimed to assess the effectiveness and safety of a four-component polypill including aspirin, atorvastatin, hydrochlorothiazide, and either enalapril or valsartan for primary and secondary prevention of cardiovascular disease.
The non-pharmacological preventive interventions (including educational training about healthy lifestyle—eg, healthy diet with low salt, sugar, and fat content, exercise, weight control, and abstinence from smoking and opium) were delivered by the PolyIran field visit team at months 3 and 6, and then every 6 months thereafter. Two formulations of polypill tablet were used in this study.
Participants were first prescribed polypill one (hydrochlorothiazide 12·5 mg, aspirin 81 mg, atorvastatin 20 mg, and enalapril 5 mg). Participants who developed cough during follow-up were switched by a trained study physician to polypill two, which included valsartan 40 mg instead of enalapril 5 mg. Participants were followed up for 60 months.
The primary outcome—occurrence of major cardiovascular events (including hospitalisation for the acute coronary syndrome, fatal myocardial infarction, sudden death, heart failure, coronary artery revascularisation procedures, and non-fatal and fatal stroke)—was centrally assessed by the GCS follow-up team, who were masked to allocation status.
Between Feb 22, 2011, and April 15, 2013,6838 individuals were enrolled in the study—3417 in the minimal care group and 3421 in the polypill group. 1761 (51·5%) of 3421 participants in the polypill group were women, as were 1679 (49·1%) of 3417 participants in the minimal care group. Median adherence to polypill tablets was 80·5%.
During follow-up, 301 (8·8%) of 3417 participants in the minimal care group had major cardiovascular events compared with 202 (5·9%) of 3421 participants in the polypill group. The frequency of adverse events was similar between the two study groups. 21 intracranial haemorrhages were reported during the 5 years of follow-up—ten participants in the polypill group and 11 participants in the minimal care group. There were 13 physician-confirmed diagnoses of upper gastrointestinal bleeding in the polypill group and nine in the minimal care group.
Use of polypill was effective in preventing major cardiovascular events. Medication adherence was high and adverse event numbers were low. The polypill strategy could be considered as an additional effective component in controlling cardiovascular diseases, especially in LMICs.
Source: The Lancet