Combination drug

A combination drug is a fixed-dose combination (FDC) that includes two or more active pharmaceutical ingredients (APIs) combined in a single dosage form, which is manufactured and distributed in fixed doses.[1] Terms like "combination drug" or "combination drug product" can be common shorthand for a FDC product (since most combination drug products are currently FDCs), although the latter is more precise if in fact referring to a mass-produced product having a predetermined combination of drugs and respective dosages (as opposed to customized polypharmacy via compounding[2]). And it should also be distinguished from the term "combination product" in medical contexts, which without further specification can refer to products that combine different types of medical products - such as device/drug combinations as opposed to drug/drug combinations.[3] Note that when a combination drug product (whether fixed-dose or not) is a "pill" (i.e., a tablet or capsule), then it is also a kind of "polypill" or combopill.

Initially, fixed-dose combination drug products were developed to target a single disease (such as with antiretroviral FDCs used against AIDS). However, FDCs may also target multiple diseases/conditions, such as Caduet (atorvastatin/amlodipine) or Exforge (amlodipine/valsartan). In cases of FDCs targeting multiple conditions, such conditions might often be related — in order to increase the number of prospective patients who might be likely to utilize a given FDC product. This is because each FDC product is mass-produced, and thus typically requires having a critical mass of potentially applicable patients in order to justify its manufacture, distribution, stocking, etc.


In addition to simply being a means of facilitating the general advantages of combination therapy, specific advantages of fixed-dose combination (FDC) drug products include:


See also


  1. Roger Collier,"Reducing the “pill burden”", CMAJ February 7, 2012 vol. 184 no. 2 First published January 9, 2012, doi: 10.1503/cmaj.109-4076.
  2. "5-in-1 PolyPill Treatment May Prevent Heart Disease", BAYVIEW PHARMACY'S PRESCRIPTION COMPOUNDING BLOG,Apr 01, 2009 @ 08:09 AM.
  3. Combination Products-U.S. Food and Drug Administration
  4. Peter A. Netland,"Glaucoma Medical Therapy-Principles and Management"

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