Forget exercise, fatties could pop a life-lengthening pill, say docs

This week's British Medical Journal carries a report about a combination pill made up of cheap, out-of-patent drugs, and a vitamin, that could be made available to the over-55s and which would severely dent the chances of them popping their clogs from heart disease, the Western world's biggest killer. Polypill poppers would gain 11 years (and carry on smoking, gorging on Big Macs and Segwaying to the pub)
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The pill is not yet available but could be easily fabricated. It would contain aspirin to reduce the stickiness of blood cells involved in clotting; a statin drug to lower cholesterol; and folic acid to reduce levels of homocysteine, an amino acid that promotes hardening of the arteries; and three types of blood pressure lowering drugs, at half dose.

The report in the BMJ, the weekly journal of the British Medical Association, says the proposed 'polypill', is the biggest news in 50 years.

However, we need not all throw away our bikes and good eating habits just yet: the pill would be so cheap to produce, no drug companies have yet said they plan to market it.

The Brit docs who wrote the BMJ articles have patented their idea.

The American Heart Association cautioned that such a pill might be dangerous for healthy people and not strong enough for those with heart trouble. Obviously, it could also lull some people into persisting with life-threaten ing habits.

"There are massive caveats. We are quite concerned about this," said Dr. Robert Bonow, president of the AHA.

Here's the BMJ's editorial:

http://bmj.com/.../1407

And here's the report itself:

http://bmj.com/.../1419?ijkey=eb7cca35f50fe9d455ea315fd650c3a2c02cb4e2&keytype2=tf_ipsecsha

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