Patients' views about taking a polypill to manage cardiovascular risk: A qualitative study in primary care
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.