Do You Think Fish Oil Has Cardiovascular Benefits?

November 18, 2020

Questions about the cardiovascular benefit of omega-3 fatty acids and the high-dose eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) product icosapent ethyl (Vascepa) have resurfaced with the STRENGTH trial, which was presented at the recent American Heart Association (AHA) virtual conference. 

The STRENGTH trial showed no benefit on cardiovascular event rates of a high-dose combination of EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in a new branded product (Epanova).

This contrasts with the very positive results of last year's REDUCE-IT trial, which showed a 25% relative risk reduction in major adverse cardiovascular events with the high-dose purified EPA product, icosapent ethyl.  

Proposed explanations for the discrepancies include the fact that different placebos were used in the two trials, with some suggesting that mineral oil is an active placebo. The REDUCE-IT investigators dispute this; their explanation is that DHA may counteract some of the benefits of EPA.


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