Improving persistence and clinical results of drug therapy: the role of a polypill

By Dr José María Castellano

In 2011, for the first time in the history of humankind, non-communicable diseases became the leading cause of death worldwide. This change in trend is obviously multifactorial and very complex, as it is the paradoxical result of social, economic and health system growth worldwide.

Vaccination and infectious diseases control, changing dietary habits worldwide, sedentary behaviour, globalisation, industrialisation (resulting in a shift from manual to sedentary labour), tobacco and sugary beverage surges in low- and middle-income countries and rapid urbanisation have all played a role in this epidemic transition. At the same time, the increase in cardiovascular risk factors, together with a decline in mortality in high-income countries in the past two decades, has led to a significant upsurge in the prevalence of secondary prevention of ischaemic heart disease.

With this, the effect that non-adherence to cardioprotective drugs is having has become progressively clear, both in terms of clinical outcomes and as a driver of increased healthcare expenditure. The cardiovascular polypill, which was originally proposed as a strategy to improve accessibility to cardioprotective drugs worldwide, has proven to be a mainstay therapeutic approach for improving medication adherence in cardiovascular disease.

We aim to review the need for a polypill strategy in the present scenario of cardiovascular disease, the available data that support such a strategy and the various clinical trials that are in progress that will help further shape future indications for the cardiovascular polypill.


The polypill represents one of the most scalable strategies to improve efficient cardioprotective drug delivery based on its impact on accessibility and adherence and this impact the current pandemic of atherosclerotic disease.

Presented at the 22nd Annual Meeting of the International Society of Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy (ISCP), 24th-25th August 2017. Barcelona, Spain.