Patients' views about taking a polypill to manage cardiovascular risk: a qualitative study in primary care.
Virdee SK., Greenfield SM., Fletcher K., McManus RJ., Mant J.
BACKGROUND: A 'polypill' containing a combination of antihypertensives and statins could prevent up to 80% of cardiovascular disease (CVD) events. AIM: To investigate patients' opinions about the use of a polypill for CVD prevention. DESIGN AND SETTING: Qualitative study of 17 patients from seven primary care practices in Birmingham, UK. METHOD: Patients were recruited through purposive sampling to maximise variation of characteristics. Semi-structured interviews were conducted with responders. Results were analysed and reported using a qualitative description approach. RESULTS: Patients expressed concerns that polypill prescription for primary prevention simply on the basis of age was unnecessary and would lead to side effects, despite recognising potential benefits. For high-risk patients, or for secondary prevention, a polypill was deemed more acceptable, but was still felt to require regular monitoring of blood pressure and cholesterol. CONCLUSION: Patients were sceptical about the role of a polypill as a 'blanket' approach. If a population strategy offering a polypill to all people over a certain age was to be implemented, it would need to be supported by patient education.