A Prescription Fish Oil Supplement May Lower Heart Risks
Early results of the REDUCE-IT (Reduction of Cardiovascular Events With EPA - Intervention Trial) study show that when combined with a cholesterol-lowering statin, the fish-oil drug Vascepa (icosapent ethyl - capsule) significantly cuts the rate of major cardiovascular events compared with a placebo, according to an announcement issued by the supplement’s manufacturer, Amarin.
The 8,179 participants in the study, which started in 2011, were all taking statins, had an average LDL (“bad”) cholesterol level of 75 mg/dL and high triglycerides (150-499 mg/dL), and either had been previously diagnosed with heart disease or with type 2 diabetes plus at least one additional heart disease risk factor. The average follow-up was about five years. Major cardiovascular events included death from heart disease, non-fatal heart attack or stroke, coronary bypass, and unstable angina requiring hospitalization.
Research examining the potential benefits of fish oil supplements to reduce heart disease risk remains controversial, with several studies showing limited benefit. Full results of the REDUCE-IT study are expected soon and will be presented at the American Heart Association's scientific meeting in November 2018.