A single drug for multiple complaints like cholesterol, blood pressure and cardio-vascular problems is being designed at Dr Reddy's, the Hyderabad-based laboratory.
Pharmacists at Dr Reddy's have come up with a combination of four drugs — a cholesterol-lowering statin, two blood-pressure medicines, and blood-thinning aspirin. The world's first 'polypill' is expected to control heart disease and stroke by 60 per cent. It will be available in the market next year.
However, cardiologists caution that the polypill may not suit everyone. The pill is meant for those who are at higher risk of heart disease and stroke and not for everyone over 55 years.
'It has certain deficiencies. It assumes a fixed dose regimen for treating everyone but the fact is everyone's response differs. The side effects are dose-related. This is a combination of active drugs that can have dangerous side effects like the weakening of muscles and liver disorders,' said Dr Ashok Seth of Max Devki Devi Heart & Vascular Institute.
Proposals to develop a 'polypill' that would reduce the risk of heart attack and premature death , are being taken up by domestic major Dr Reddy's Laboratories, and World Heart Federation in their separate ventures.
The medicine, if invented, could come as a breakthrough therapy as there is no such drug available in a single pill that treats hypertension, diabetes, cholesterol and cardio-vascular diseases.
At present, patients with a combination of problems are required to take many drugs that not only prove expensive, but also can be stressful as they often forget to take the right medicine at the right time. Therefore, researchers believe that combining medicines into one pill will make it easier to take, cheaper and more effective in preventing strokes and heart attacks.
According to World Heart Federation, the testing of the pill would first be done in Spain and then would be sold to markets like China, at a cost that is one-fifth of the presently available medicines.