The polypill: A potential global solution to cardiovascular disease

Caroline Nguyen, Angela Cheng-Lai

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Despite groundbreaking advances in health care, cardiovascular disease (CVD) remains the leading cause of death and disability worldwide, making it one of the most pressing global health issues to face the modern world. In 2002, Wald and Law proposed the concept of the polypill as a potential solution to this global health epidemic. The polypill represents a powerhouse pill that would consist of a combination of several key medications commonly prescribed for CVD prevention, such as a statin, diuretic, beta blocker, or angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitor, in one pill. It was suggested that it could be a novel, tactical measure in the approach to CVD prevention in that it greatly simplifies the healthcare delivery system. Not only does it increase medication compliance for those currently receiving health care, but it also has the potential to access those in underserved healthcare sectors of the world, primarily low- and middle-income countries, which have been identified as areas of highest CVD risk. A major drawback of the polypill is that there are limited data demonstrating its safety and efficacy in the prevention of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Thus far, research shows that the polypill has promise but needs to be approached with a few considerations, such as desired target patient population and formulation. This article will examine the published and ongoing studies associated with the polypill, outline the advantages and disadvantages of using the polypill as a global CVD prevention strategy, and discuss the design and availability of the polypill in the United States.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)49-54
Number of pages6
JournalCardiology in review
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2013


  • Polycap
  • Red Heart Pill
  • cardiovascular disease
  • fixed dose compound
  • global health care
  • polypill

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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