Daily pill could add 11 years to life for one in four, say doctors
EVERYONE older than 50 should be offered a cheap one-a-day polypill to cut the risk of heart attacks, say researchers.
The pill, which reduces blood pressure and cholesterol, could extend the life of more than one in four people by 11 years.
A study has found that the polypill, which could cost 50p (63c) a day, reduces the risk of heart attack by three-quarters and stroke by two-thirds.
Every year 200,000 people die of strokes or heart attacks in the UK. That number could be more than halved if everyone over 50 took the pill, say scientists from Queen Mary, University of London.
The treatment contains three blood pressure-lowering drugs and a statin that reduces cholesterol.
In a three-month trial, it was found to cut blood pressure by 12pc and lower levels of "bad" cholesterol by 39pc.
Dr David Wald, a cardiologist who led the research, said the polypill should be made available over the counter "without delay".
"The health implications of our results are large," he said.
"On average, those who benefit would gain 11 years of life without a heart attack or stroke."
The polypill could take two years to be approved by medical regulators.
Natasha Stewart, senior cardiac nurse at the British Heart Foundation, sounded a note of caution: "However interesting this pill is, medicines are not a substitute for a healthy lifestyle." (© Daily Telegraph, London)