What is the polypill? Can it prevent or treat heart disease?

Answers from Martha Grogan, M.D.

The term "polypill" describes a pill that contains a combination of several medications commonly used to treat heart disease and high blood pressure. Doctors aren't sure what exact combination of medications should be included in a polypill. It's thought that low doses of each of these medications could be effective:

  • Aspirin
  • Water pills (diuretics)
  • Cholesterol-lowering medications (statins)
  • Medications to make your heart beat with less force (beta blockers)
  • Medications to help keep your blood vessels open (ACE inhibitors)

The polypill is still being studied and isn't available for sale yet in the United States. Who should take the polypill is still being considered. Doctors are trying to see if the polypill should be given as a preventive measure for people who haven't had a heart attack or stroke or as a treatment option for people who have already had a heart attack or stroke.

Apr. 12, 2012 See more Expert Answers