A pill combining several drugs could lessen the risk of cardiovascular disease and do it cheaper, according to a study by UW-Madison researchers.

The study from the UW-Madison School of Medicine and Public Health  is in the January issue of Health Affairs, according to a UW news release.

The "polypill" would combine aspirin, a statin (to lower blood cholesterol) and three blood pressure medications.

The study showed the pill could reduce the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease by 21 percent in men and 15 percent in women.

Study leader Dr. Leonelo Bautista led a team that included academics and public health officials in South America, the Caribbean and Central America.

The study was done in Latin American countries because polypills are not available in the United States, the release said.

"By all measures, this type of intervention would be cost-effective and could also be cost-saving," Bautista said in the release.

While polypills are not available in the U.S., the study gave evidence that using a polypill in the U.S. for men 55 years old or older could result in lower cost and higher health benefits than the standard approach of screening and treating for hypertension and hypercholesterolemia.

 

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