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Polypill may cause chaos

The concept of the polypill (News, November 17) is attractive but I can see considerable practical problems.

The combination of drugs will result in a patient advice leaflet the size of a tea towel, offering those prescribed it a wide range of side-effects to chose from when they decide, after all, not to take the pill.

Prescribing the pill first, rather than its individual components, would result in an estimated adverse event rate of 8-15 per cent, according to Dr Wald and Dr Law of the University of London, who have filed a patent application on a formulation of the combined pill.

This would present the prescriber with a tricky problem, in those intolerant, of sorting out which of the five components (excluding folic acid) the patient has reacted to. It might create more problems than it solves.

Dr Paul Weston Smith


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