31 March 2009

All-in-One Pill For Heart and Stroke Problems

The first question that comes to my mind is how much this will cost. Yes, it combines the actions of 3 anti-hypertensives, aspirin (anti-blood clotter) and a cholesterol-lowering agent. This early, I can already imagine how the business minds of pharma people are grinding in coming up with a so-called competitive market pricing.

On the plus-side, its simplicity offers to answer the frustration of most sick patients when taking at least more than 5 pills in one sitting --- all for different ailments. Sick people are mostly depressed about their condition, and they become more depressed when they take their oh-so-many-pills per day. In terms of compliance, I think this 'polypill' will make many doctors happy with their patients. Imagine 1 pill doing the work of 5 different pills.

Another consideration is its size. How big will this 'polypill' will be?

Most of my old patients complain of having experienced difficulty in swallowing big tablets and capsules.

And how about the aspect of drug interactions? I think 3 anti-hypertensives (a beta-blocker, an ACE inhibitor, and a diuretic) might be too much for those who need only one anti-hypertensive agent to control their rising blood pressures.

Pills, whatever type they may be, offer instant solutions. They are reserved for those people who would always want the easy answer to solve their problems. Mostly, these are patients who are either in deep trouble and need help fast, or patients who abhor the hardships of dieting and engaging in too much physical activity.

For me, I still go and encourage my patients to heed lifestyle changes and stick instead to the long-term rewards and 'safer side effects' of diet and exercise.
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