Eicosapentaenoic acid reduces the progression of carotid intima-media thickness in patients with type 2 diabetes

Atherosclerosis. 2007 Mar;191(1):162-7. doi: 10.1016/j.atherosclerosis.2006.03.005. Epub 2006 Apr 17.


To investigate the effect of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) on the progression of diabetic macroangiopathy, we performed an open-label randomized prospective trial. A total of 81 Japanese type 2 diabetes were randomly assigned to the EPA (1800 mg/day) treated group or the control group. Carotid intima-media thickness (IMT) and brachial-ankle pulse wave velocity (baPWV) were evaluated before and after treatment in both groups. Sixty patients (EPA group, n=30; control group, n=30) completed this study. During the study period of 2.1+/-0.2 years, the mean IMT and max IMT of the EPA treated group showed a significant annual decrease compared with that of the control group (mean IMT, -0.029+/-0.112 mm versus 0.016+/-0.109 mm, respectively, P=0.029; max IMT, -0.084+/-0.113 mm versus -0.005+/-0.108 mm, respectively, P=0.0008). The baPWV was also improved significantly in the EPA treated group compared with the control group (-22.1+/-127.9 cm/s versus 62.3+/-223 cm/s, respectively, P=0.021). Multiple regression analysis showed that the administration of EPA was a significant and independent factor associated with an annual improvement of mean IMT (R2=0.067). In summary, this is the first demonstration that administration of purified EPA improves the carotid IMT and the baPWV in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Carotid Arteries / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Arteries / drug effects*
  • Carotid Arteries / pathology
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / diagnostic imaging
  • Carotid Artery Diseases / prevention & control*
  • Diabetes Mellitus, Type 2 / complications*
  • Diabetic Angiopathies / prevention & control*
  • Disease Progression
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology*
  • Female
  • Fish Oils / pharmacology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pulsatile Flow / drug effects*
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Tunica Intima / drug effects
  • Tunica Intima / pathology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Fish Oils
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid