The omega-3 fatty acid icosapent ethyl lowered the risk of cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, coronary revascularization or unstable angina by as much as 25 percent in a group of patients enrolled in a five-year clinical trial, according to researchers reporting in the Jan. 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
This was a multi-center, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study of 8,179 patients led by Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., of Brigham and Women’s Hospital Heart and Vascular Center, Boston.
At baseline the patients had elevated triglyceride levels and were already taking statins. They had a fasting triglyceride level of 135 to 499 mg per deciliter (1.52 to 5.63 mmol per liter) and a low-density lipoprotein cholesterol level of 41 to 100 mg per deciliter (1.06 to 2.59 mmol per liter). Patients in the trial also had either established cardiovascular disease, diabetes or other risk factors.
Patients were assigned to the treatment group to receive 2 g of icosapent ethyl twice daily or a placebo.
The primary end point included either cardiovascular death, nonfatal myocardial infarction, nonfatal stroke, coronary revascularization, or unstable angina. In total, 17.2 percent of patients in the treatment group developed one or more of these events as compared to 22 percent in the placebo group.
Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H., P. Gabriel Steg, et al. "Cardiovascular Risk Reduction with Icosapent Ethyl for Hypertriglyceridemia," New England Journal of Medicine. Jan. 9, 2019. DOI: 10.1056/NEJMoa1812792