A Daily Pill to Avoid Heart Disease: Worth the Hassle?

Daily heart disease pill was unappealing to some patients, but majority said they would take the hypothetical treatment

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD Beth Bolt, RPh

(RxWiki News) Imagine there was a daily pill that could prevent heart disease. Would you take it every day, or would you opt out? Some people said they would opt out — even if it meant losing months or years of life.

A new study found that, for some people, taking a daily pill was too much of a hassle — even if that pill could prevent heart disease.

“What we were really trying to measure is how much the act of taking a pill — obtaining it, remembering to take it and actually taking it — interferes with one’s quality of life,” said Robert Hutchins, MD, of the Department of Medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, in a press release.

He continued, “Even ignoring the side-effects of pills, the act of having to take a daily pill can have a large effect on an individual’s quality of life."

Dr. Hutchins and team studied 1,000 US residents who were 30 years old or older. These researchers used an Internet-based survey, asking about personal pill-taking habits. The survey also asked respondents hypothetical questions about their health.

According to the survey results, 1 in 3 adults chose to risk living a shorter life over taking a daily pill to avoid heart disease.

More than 8 percent of these patients were willing to swap as much as two years of life for not having to take a daily pill for heart disease. About 21 percent said they would only trade between one week and a year of their lives to avoid the pills. But about 70 percent said they wouldn’t trade any weeks of life at all.

The survey results also found that about 21 percent of residents were willing to pay $1,000 or more to not have to take a heart disease pill every day for the rest of their lives. But about 43 percent said they wouldn’t pay anything.

“The study’s findings are useful for policymakers evaluating preventive interventions, specifically the cost effectiveness of those interventions for cardiovascular disease,” Dr. Hutchins said.

This study was published Feb. 3 in the journal Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

The National Institutes of Health funded this research. The authors disclosed no conflicts of interest.

Review Date: 
February 2, 2015
Last Updated:
February 5, 2015