Fish oil drug could prevent 70,000 heart attacks, strokes every year in U.S.

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In a new study, researchers predicted that more than 70,000 heart attacks, strokes and other adverse cardiovascular events could be prevented each year in the U.S. through the use of a highly purified fish oil therapy.

The research was conducted by a team from the University of California, Irvine.

Previous research has shown that patients with heart disease or diabetes or elevated triglyceride levels could benefit from icosapent ethyl, a highly purified fish oil therapy.

The therapy lowered cardiovascular events, including heart attacks and strokes, by 25%.

The team’s analysis estimating its potential impact on the U.S. population.

They were able to estimate the beneficial impact icosapent ethyl could have on preventing initial and total cardiovascular events in eligible U.S. adults with heart disease or diabetes and multiple risk factors.

Wong’s analysis is the first to project the findings to the overall U.S. population.

Icosapent ethyl is a purified stable eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) which was recently approved by the Federal Drug Administration (FDA) in conjunction with maximally tolerated statin therapy to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke in certain adults with elevated triglyceride levels.

The only drug of its kind to show such an effect, icosapent ethyl, is currently marketed under the name Vascepa by Amarin Pharma.

The EPA therapy has also gained the support of several major societies, which have incorporated it in various guidelines, scientific statements and advisories, including the American Diabetes Association, American Heart Association, National Lipid Association, and the European Society of Cardiology/European Atherosclerosis Society.

The lead author of the study is Nathan D. Wong, Ph.D., a professor and director of the Heart Disease Prevention Program.

The study was presented at the upcoming ACC.20/World Congress of Cardiology virtual conference.

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