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18 May 2010
By Kounteya Sinha
New Delhi, India
Trials of once–a–day polypill start today
Large–scale international trials of a once–aday pill, that is expected to protect people from heart disease, high blood pressure and bad cholesterol, will begin from Tuesday.
Researchers from UK, Ireland, Netherlands and India will jointly explore whether a new, low cost, onea–day combined polypill could reduce the risk of heart attacks, strokes and other cardiovascular problems. The team has already recruited 2,000 volunteers who are at high risk of heart attack or stroke, or who have already had such a cardiovascular event, for a twoyear trial of the “Red Heart Pill”. Through the trial called UMPIRE, scientists want to know whether patients are more likely to stick with a preventive treatment regime using a single, onea–day polypill, rather than multiple tablets, and whether the pill is effective in reducing blood pressure and lowering cholesterol. If the pill proves successful, the researchers will see how it could be made available to people in countries like India, where 80% of health care is paid out of pocket and the majority of people do not currently have access to cardiovascular drugs. The pill contains low–dose aspirin, a statin and two blood pressure–lowering medicines in a single polypill. It is expected to be substantially cheaper than existing medications to combat cardiovascular problems.
In India, the trials will be conducted in George Institute, the Centre for Chronic Disease Control, Delhi, Public Health Foundation of India and Dr Reddy's Laboratories.