18 August 2023 | 13:23
Heart medications that combine three drugs in one pill — otherwise known as a polypill — have been added to the World Health Organization’s (WHO) List of Essential Medicines.
The unique Polypill is designed for those who have had a previous heart attack or other heart-related event, with the aim of preventing a recurrence.
It took 15 years of intensive study and several versions to create.
The Essential Medicines List is medicines that meet a population’s “priority health care needs” and can save lives, improve health and reduce suffering, according to the WHO website.
“These cardiovascular polyps can become an integral part of a global strategy to prevent cardiovascular events in patients who have suffered cardiac arrest and who are currently being treated with separate mono components,” said Valentin Fuster, MD, Ph.D., president of Mount Sinai Heart and chief physician of Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City, in a news release.
“This approach has the potential to reduce the risk of cardiovascular recurrence and death,” he added.
WHO selects essential drugs based on their relevance to public health, prevalence of disease, evidence of clinical efficacy and safety, and comparative cost and cost-effectiveness, according to the global health organization’s website.
“I think this is a real change in medicine,” Fuster, who is also general director of the Spanish National Center for Cardiovascular Research (CNIC), which spearheaded the study, told Fox News Digital in an interview.
“The inclusion of this therapeutic solution on the WHO List of Essential Medicines confirms our goal to make a positive impact in society and is an important step in our mission to provide significant and differentiated value for people with cardiovascular disease,” Oscar Pérez, head of marketing, and business development officer at Ferrer, a Spain-based pharmaceutical company involved in polypill research, said in a news release.
The polypill contains three drugs that are typically used to treat patients after they suffer their first heart attack, Fox News Digital previously reported.
Researchers found it effective in preventing adverse secondary cardiovascular events in those who had previously had a cardiac event, according to the SECURE trial led by Fuster published in The New England Journal of Medicine in August 2022.
Polypill also reduced cardiovascular mortality by 33% among patients who had a previous heart attack, the study found.
“The SECURE results demonstrate for the first time that the cardiovascular polypill we helped develop causes a clinically relevant reduction in recurrent cardiovascular events in patients with myocardial infarction,” said Fuster in the release.
The three drugs contained in the polypill include acetylsalicylic acid, which helps thin the blood to prevent blood clots; ramipril, an angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor that lowers blood pressure; and a cholesterol-lowering drug called atorvastatin, according to Fuster.
A patient is less likely to take three separate pills each day, says Fuster, which increases the risk of other cardiovascular events.
Polypill helps patients adhere to taking prescribed medication because there is only one pill.
Fuster’s research team found that the polypill was just as effective as a separate pill regimen commonly given to patients after a heart attack.
“Adherence to treatment after acute myocardial infarction is critical for effective secondary prevention,” he told Fox News Digital.
“This cardiovascular polypyle, as a strategy that combines the three basic treatments for these patients, has proven its value, as improved adherence means patients are kept longer and, consequently, have a lower risk of cardiovascular events,” Fuster noted in the release.
It took 15 years of intensive study and several versions to develop this polypill, Fuster told Fox News Digital.
It is sold under the brand names Trinomia, Sincronium, and Iltria, depending on the country.
“A 3% reduction in cardiovascular mortality demonstrates the efficacy of treatment with Trinomia compared to standard treatment,” Ferrer’s Perez said in the report.
Polypill is currently commercially available in 25 countries, but the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved it for use in the US.
“Since our groundbreaking study was published, we have seen increased use of polypills worldwide, and we hope to have these drugs available in the United States and other countries where they are not yet available,” said Fuster. .
Every year in the United States, 805,000 people suffer a heart attack.
Of those people, 200,000 had previously had a heart attack, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
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