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First UK polypill trial launched

By Lilian Anekwe

UK researchers have started recruiting for the country's first trial of a combination 'polypill'.

A team from Imperial College London will lead the two-year UMPIRE trial of a polypill containing a low dose aspirin, a statin and two antihypertensives in 2,000 volunteers in the UK, Ireland, Holland, India and Australia.

The polypill is being developed for use in patients at high risk of cardiovascular disease, or who have already had a major cardiovascular event.

The primary endpoints are patient compliance, blood pressure and cholesterol-level lowering.

In the randomised, controlled design, patients will receive either usual care or one of the two versions of the Red Heart Pill comprising either aspirin 75mg, simvastatin 40mg, lisinopril 10mg and atenolol 50mg or aspirin 50mg, simvastatin 40mg, lisinopril 10mg and hydrochlorothiazide 12.5mg.

Professor Simon Thom, the co-principal investigator on the study from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: ‘The polypill idea is really simple: make it easier for people to get the medication they need by giving them just one polypill to take each day, rather than lots of different pills that may need to be taken at different times.

‘Polypills are being used successfully to treat other diseases like tuberculosis and HIV, but we don't yet know whether they could be effective in those with cardiovascular problems. The UMPIRE trial aims to test whether the polypill does help people take their cardiovascular medicines in the long term and whether there are any unintended problems with this approach.'

Researchers will test if patients respond better to a combination pill