The Medical Letter on Drugs and Therapeutics
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Icosapent Ethyl (Vascepa) for Severe Hypertriglyceridemia

Icosapent ethyl (Vascepa [vas EE puh] – Amarin), the ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), has been approved by the FDA as an adjunct to diet for treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia (≥500 mg/dL). Vascepa is the second omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) product to become available by prescription for this indication; Lovaza (formerly Omacor), which is a combination of the ethyl esters of EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), was the first.1 Many omega-3 PUFA-containing fish oil capsules are sold over the counter as dietary supplements.2

TRIGLYCERIDE LEVELS AND RISK — Mildly (150-200 mg/dL) and moderately (200-500 mg/dL) increased levels of plasma triglycerides are associated with increased cardiovascular risk. This risk may not be due to triglycerides themselves, but rather to ... more      

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