But Washington Hospital Center cardiologist Patricia Davidson raises concerns: What would happen if patients react badly to one component of the pill or suffer some other negative side effect, the cause of which can't easily be identified?My feeling? The polypill is coming, despite doctors' misgivings, especially as the beleaguered pharmaceutical industry looks for new ways to repackage generic medications to make them look "new" again.
Aspirin, for example, causes bleeding in some individuals, but the problems caused by other drugs might be harder to identify. "It would be difficult to replace the three or four drugs when trying to eliminate the drug with the side effects," Davidson says.
Others have raised questions about the dosage levels of each of the ingredients in a single pill, which cannot be as readily adjusted to suit individual needs.
Beyond these concerns is a philosophical one: Should we expect a pill for every problem? Sure sounds good, as Robert Bonow recently pointed out at the American College of Cardiology annual meeting in Florida.
"A single pill," said Bonow, a professor of medicine at Chicago's Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, "is exactly what people would love to have." But Bonow argues that medication should not be thought of as a means to "continue smoking . . . keep on eating what you're eating and not exercising."