London: A new `polypill` containing both aspirin and statins halves the risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the first international trial of the drug.
It has long been known that taking aspirin and statins separately reduces the risk of cardiovascular disease, but researchers have, for the first time, examined what happens if you take them both in one combined pill.
Australian researchers have found "sizeable reductions" in blood pressure and in levels of `bad` cholesterol, among those who took the polypill over a 12-week period.
Researchers examined data from 378 people with a raised risk of cardiovascular disease. Half were given the polypill and half the placebo. About a third of the participants were British, a third Dutch and a third Indian.
Prof Anthony Rodgers of the George Institute for Global Health in Australia, who led the study, said: "The results showing a halving in heart disease and stroke, can be expected for people taking this polypill long-term."
Separate pills are already prescribed to millions of people worldwide to lower their chances of heart attack and stroke, reports the journal Public Library of Science One.
But scientists had been looking at the prospect of a combined pill since a long time.
Eight years ago Prof Sir Nichlas Wald, who demonstrated that passive smoking causes cancer, proposed the polypill in the `British Medical Journal`.
He wrote that such an easy-to-take pill could significantly reduce the burden of cardiovascular disease, which is Britain`s biggest killer, accounting for almost 200,000 deaths a year.
Taking such a preventive pill should be as automatic as "brushing your teeth", he had later suggested.