London: A superpill that combines two or more medications can help keep blood pressure under control and cut the risk of heart attacks, suggest researchers. Many patients currently with high blood pressure have to take several tablets, often at various times of the day, to prevent a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke.

Not only is this confusing, particularly for older people, it also means medicines can easily be taken incorrectly.

Recent figures revealed that two million people in the UK take three or more pills each day for their hypertension, or high blood pressure. But up to 80 per cent are believed not to take their medication as directed, which means their condition is not being properly controlled.

"Combining the pills into one could make taking the medication much simpler," daily quoted Dr Peter Coleman, deputy director at The Stroke Association, as saying.

A study found that 13.6 per cent of patients with high blood pressure and treated with individual tablets suffered serious cardiovascular complications. But this fell to 8.3 per cent when they were given a combination pill.

"Treatment with a combination pill resulted in a clinical benefit to patients through the reduction in cardiovascular events, and a benefit to the NHS by reducing healthcare costs associated with complications of poor blood pressure control," stated Dr Jonathan Belsey, author of the study. They studied medical records of 10 million patients.

Dr Coleman added: "These combination pills might not be suitable for everyone so every patient should be assessed and treated on an individual basis." The study was published in the Journal of Medical Economics.


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