Polypill a boon for heart and stroke patients

They are 40% more likely to stay on their medication than people prescribed a cocktail of separate medicines.

This is a major boost for people with cardiovascular disease or those at high risk, said researcher Dr Ruth Webster (PhD) of the George Institute for Global Health in Sydney.

It reduces the complexity of taking several pills and slashes the cost, although the side effects are the same as if each drug was taken separately.

"These results are an important step forward in the polypill journey and management of cardiovascular disease," said Dr Webster ahead of a presentation of the study at the World Heart Federation congress in Melbourne on Monday.

About half of patients in Australia don't take their recommended medication, which puts them at significant risk.

"The polypill solves most of the issues, apart from the side effects," said Dr Webster, whose team analysed data from 3140 patients in Australia, New Zealand, India