A single combination pill could reduce cardiovascular disease and stroke in Latin Americans by up to 21 percent at a cost of about $35 per quality adjusted life year gained, according to a study led by a University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health research team.
"Our simulation study showed that a pill that combines aspirin, a drug that lowers blood cholesterol (a statin), and three drugs that lower blood pressure, could be one of the most cost-effective health interventions to reduce heart attack, stroke and other cardiovascular health risks," says study leader Dr. Leonelo Bautista, associate professor of population health sciences. Bautista led a team that included academics and public health leaders from across South America, Central America and the Caribbean.
They looked at the costs of treating people at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease with a polypill and the benefits of that intervention in terms of gains in quality-adjusted life years (QALY), a measure that takes into account both the quantity and quality of life generated by a health care intervention. The study found the pill could reduce the lifetime risk of cardiovascular disease by 15 percent in women and 21 percent in men. The results of the study suggest that the pill should be offered to women at high risk of developing cardiovascular disease and to all men 55 years and older. Using the polypill in these groups would result in a cost of about $35 per quality-adjusted life year gained.