Adding this omega-3 drug to statins may lower your stroke risk

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In a new study from the Brigham and Women’s Hospital, researchers found taking the triglyceride-lowering medication icosapent ethyl cut the risk of stroke by an additional 36% in people with a high risk of heart disease.

These people already have their bad cholesterol levels under control using statin medications.

The finding showed Icosapent ethyl is a new way to further reduce the risk of stroke in patients with atherosclerosis or who are at high risk of stroke, who have elevated triglyceride levels and are already taking statins.

Icosapent ethyl is a prescription medication that is a highly purified form of the omega-3 fatty acid eicosapentaenoic acid.

It is very different in terms of purity compared to omega-3 fatty acid supplements available over-the-counter, and these results do not apply to supplements.

Icosapent ethyl was first approved in July 2012 by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as an adjunct treatment to dietary changes to lower triglycerides in people with extremely high levels of triglycerides (higher than 500 mg/dL).

In the current study, the researchers performed an additional analysis of the impact of icosapent ethyl on stroke in the same 8,000 participants.

They found the risk of a first fatal or nonfatal ischemic stroke was reduced by 36% for patients treated with icosapent ethyl;

for every 1,000 patients treated with icosapent ethyl for 5 years, about 14 strokes were averted; and

the risk of a bleeding stroke was very low, and no difference was found among those taking icosapent ethyl.

The team suggests people know their triglyceride levels. If the levels are elevated, people should ask their doctors if they should be taking icosapent ethyl to further reduce their risk of heart attack and stroke.

Doctors may also recommend that people change their diets, exercise, lose weight if needed to lower their triglyceride levels, and may prescribe a statin medication if they need to lower their LDL cholesterol levels.

If you care about stroke risk, please read studies about common prescribed drugs that could increase stroke risk by 60%, and what a mini stroke is, and why you need to act FAST.

For more information about health, please see recent studies about 5 critical steps to help prevent a stroke, and results showing 7 facts women should know to prevent and recognize stroke.

The study was presented at International Stroke Conference 2021. One author of the study is Deepak L. Bhatt, M.D., M.P.H.

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