A WONDER pill containing four different drugs slashes the risk of heart attack and stroke by a third.
The "polypill" includes one statin, aspirin and two blood pressure lowering medications in one.
Researchers believe it will be welcomed by patients who take tire of a handful of tablets daily.
A study found it to be safe and effective in people with and without a history of cardiovascular disease.
It lowered the risk of heart attack or stroke by 40 per cent in those with no history.
And it cut the odds of further incidents by 20 per cent in those who had suffered before.
The benefits were as high as 57 per cent among volunteers who remembered to take the pill regularly.
The boffins analyzed data on 6,838 Iranians aged 50 or older who were tracked for five years.
Some were given the daily fixed-dose polypill and healthy lifestyle advice. Others were given healthy lifestyle advice alone.
Those who took the pill fared an average of 34 per cent better and were less likely to have side effects.
The trial was run by the Tehran University of Medical Science and the University of Birmingham.
Prof Reza Malekzadeh, from Tehran, said: “Our results showed a significant reduction in major cardiovascular event risk in the polypill group.
“Because the risks of side-effects from the components are very low, and the potential benefits are very high, the polypill is very safe.
"But polypill is not an alternative to a healthy lifestyle and should be combined with physical activity, a healthy diet, and smoking cessation."
The scientists did not compare the effect of taking the single pill with taking all four drugs individually. But the benefits are expected to be comparable.
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The findings are published in the medical journal The Lancet. The pills only cost a few pence each, the researchers said.
Prof Tom Marshall, of the University of Birmingham, said: "Patients who take statins and blood pressure drugs may find it more convenient to take one pill a day."