1. After a median follow-up of 4.9 years, patients with elevated triglyceride levels despite statin use treated with icosapent ethyl had a lower risk of cardiovascular adverse events compared to patients in a placebo group.
2. Hospitalization for atrial fibrillation or flutter occurred in more patients treated with icosapent ethyl compared to those in the placebo group.
Evidence Rating Level: 1 (Excellent)
Study Rundown: Many patients with cardiovascular risk factors can maintain elevated triglyceride levels despite use of statins, and such hypertriglyceridemia is a notable risk factor for cardiovascular events. Many triglyceride lowering agents are not successful when used in addition to statins, necessitating a need to identify potential adjunct medications for patients with persistently elevated triglyceride levels. Icosapent ethyl has been shown to lower triglyceride levels when used as an adjunct agent in patients on a cardiovascular diet, though it’s potential to aid patients taking statins is unknown. The Reduction of Cardiovascular Events with Icosapent Ethyl–Intervention Trial (REDUCE-IT) evaluated patients with persistent hypertriglyceridemia despite statin therapy and showed a lower risk of cardiovascular events in patients taking icosapent ethyl compared to those in a placebo group. Icosapent ethyl treatment also significantly lowered triglycerides compared to patients in the placebo group.
This study provides a strong basis for the use of icosapent ethyl as a triglyceride lowering agent as an adjunct treatment in patients unresponsive to statin therapy. Strengths of the study include its randomized design, extensive subgroup analysis, and follow-up out to approximately 5 years. Limitations include use of a mineral oil in the placebo which altered statin absorption and not evaluating similar compounds in addition to icosapent ethyl, even on a more limited basis.
Click to read the study in NEJM
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