'Polypill' heart drug falls short where it matters most

Call me old-fashioned, but I always thought the biggest test of a drug is how well it works, and whether or not the benefits are worth the risks -- not how easy it is to take.

But the latest heart pill, the polypill, is making its way to a pharmacy near you right now. It's being hailed as "the next big thing" not because it's effective, and not because it's safe.

No, it's actually proven to be neither -- but it's being pushed by the mainstream anyway because it's so easy to take.

The pollypill is a single pill that contains four drugs: a statin (with potential muscle pain, diabetes, memory loss and more), aspirin (with potential serious internal bleeding problems) and two different hypertension meds (with more potential risks than I can even list here).

How well does it work? Well... your doctor would rather you not ask that question. All he wants to talk about is how much better it is to swallow one pill instead of four pills.

And in that sense, the drug "works" beautifully, as new research shows that seniors given the polypill are much more likely to take all their meds -- three times more likely, in the case of seniors most prone to skipping doses.

But let's get back to that nagging question your doctor doesn't want to have to answer -- the one thing he almost certainly won't talk about once the polypill is approved and he delivers the big sales pitch (complete with free samples, no doubt).

Does it work?

In a word, no -- because the same study finds no improvements at all by the two most important measures: no reduction in heart attack risk, and no improvement in stroke risk.

None.

And if a heart drug fails to deliver in these two key areas, then it doesn't matter how easy it is to take -- it's not worth taking, plain and simple.

Fortunately, there's a better way to protect your heart -- safe, natural and (most importantly) effective treatments that can reduce your risk of a heart attack and stroke whether you've already had one, or just want to make sure you never suffer one.

Like, for example, making yourself "stroke proof" with the simple and delicious diet that I told you about recently. (Missed it? Catch up here.) Or there's the mega mineral secret that can slash your heart risk by 30 percent. Read all about it here.

In many cases, these natural solutions can help you to reduce the number of meds you take or even eliminate them entirely -- and that's the best way of all to make it easier to take your medicine.

A holistic physician can help get you started.