Low-dose dietary supplements of omega-3 fatty acids have little effect on lowering cardiovascular risk (see article on page 6). However, high doses of omega-3, either eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) alone or EPA plus docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), can significantly lower cardiovascular risk in patients with high triglyceride levels. The U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) has approved several products-Lovaza, Omtryg, Vascepa and Epanova-that are now available by prescription. Results of the REDUCE-IT trial, presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) 2018 Scientific Sessions, showed that in patients with elevated triglyceride levels and cardiovascular disease or diabetes plus one additional risk factor, 4 grams per day of purified EPA reduced the risk of a major cardiovascular event by 25%. In a science advisory issued Aug. 19 online in Circulation,
the AHA summarized the findings of 17 clinical trials in which high-dose EPA or EPA plus DHA reduced triglyceride levels by 30 to 36%. The AHA concluded they are a safe and effective option for reducing triglycerides whether used alone or in combination with other lipid-lowering drugs.