Prescription omega-3-acid ethyl esters reduce fasting and postprandial triglycerides and modestly reduce pancreatic β-cell response in subjects with primary hypertriglyceridemia

Prostaglandins Leukot Essent Fatty Acids. 2011 Sep-Oct;85(3-4):143-8. doi: 10.1016/j.plefa.2011.06.005. Epub 2011 Jul 19.


Treatment with prescription omega-3-acid ethyl esters (POM3) reduces triglycerides (TG) and TG-rich lipoprotein particles, but has been associated with increased fasting glucose (2-6mg/dL). This double-blind, randomized, controlled crossover trial in 19 men and women with hypertriglyceridemia (fasting TG ≥150 and ≤499mg/dL) examined lipid responses and indices of insulin sensitivity and secretion following a liquid meal tolerance test. Six weeks treatment with POM3 vs. corn oil resulted in significant lower mean fasting (-50.1mg/dL, p<0.001) and postprandial TG (-76.1mg/dL, p<0.001), higher mean fasting glucose (2.8mg/dL, p=0.062), reduced mean disposition index (2.1 vs. 2.4, p=0.037), and no change in the median Matsuda composite insulin sensitivity index (3.3 vs. 3.2, p=0.959). These results suggest that POM3 slightly reduces pancreatic β-cell responsiveness to plasma glucose elevation, which may contribute to the rise in fasting glucose sometimes observed with POM3.

Trial registration: NCT01034540.

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Blood Glucose
  • Cross-Over Studies
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / pharmacology
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids / therapeutic use*
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / pharmacology
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid / therapeutic use*
  • Fasting*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / drug therapy*
  • Insulin Resistance
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / drug effects*
  • Insulin-Secreting Cells / metabolism
  • Lipids / blood
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Postprandial Period*
  • Prescription Drugs / pharmacology
  • Prescription Drugs / therapeutic use*
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Blood Glucose
  • Lipids
  • Prescription Drugs
  • Triglycerides
  • Docosahexaenoic Acids
  • Eicosapentaenoic Acid

Associated data