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Polypill for secondary CVD prevention ‘likely to be cost-effective’



Giving heart attack patients a three-in-one pill instead of individual drugs to prevent further heart attacks and strokes would be worth the extra cost, according to a modelling study based on UK general practice data.

The study in BMJ Open estimated that if 10% of the 450,000 adults in the UK at risk of a recurrent CVD event took the polypill – combining aspirin, atorvastatin and ramipril – it would improve their adherence to the medications by around 20% and prevent an extra 3,000 heart attacks or strokes, and 600 CVD deaths, over a decade, when compared with using the drugs as monotherapies.

At a cost of £8,200 for each quality-adjust life-year (QALY) gained, the study’s authors said the polypill ‘appears to be a cost-effective strategy to prevent fatal and non-fatal events in the UK’ and that ‘it could therefore become the mainstay of secondary cardiovascular prevention’.

However, they added that ‘future research is needed from long-term, randomised controlled trials to confirm whether this approach offers advantages over multiple monotherapy in preventing CV events in patients who have experienced an MI’.

BMJ Open 2015; available online 9 May