Background: A novel omega-3 formulation in free fatty acid form (OM3-FFA) has as much as 4-fold greater bioavailability than ethyl ester forms and reduces triglyceride (TG) levels in patients with severe hypertriglyceridemia.
Objective: This study was designed to evaluate the efficacy of adding OM3-FFA (2 or 4 g/d) to statin therapy for lowering non-HDL-C and TG levels in subjects with persistent hypertriglyceridemia and at high risk for cardiovascular disease.
Methods: In this double-blind, parallel-group study, 647 diet-stable patients with fasting TG levels ≥ 200 mg/dL and <500 mg/dL (treated with a maximally tolerated dose of statin or statin with ezetimibe) and at high risk for cardiovascular disease were randomized to 6 weeks of treatment with capsules of control (olive oil [OO]) 4 g/d, OM3-FFA 2 g/d (plus 2 g/d OO), or OM3-FFA 4 g/d. Assessments included fasting serum levels of lipids and apolipoproteins (apo); plasma concentrations of eicosapentaenoic acid, docosahexaenoic acid, docosapentaenoic acid, and arachidonic acid; and laboratory safety values and adverse events.
Results: In the 627 subjects in the intention to treat sample, non-HDL-C levels were reduced with OM3-FFA 2 g/d and OM3-FFA 4 g/d (-3.9% and -6.9%, respectively) compared with OO (-0.9%) (both, P < 0.05), as were TG levels (-14.6% and -20.6%, respectively, vs -5.9%; both, P < 0.001). LDL-C levels increased with OM3-FFA 2 g/d (4.6%) compared with OO (1.1%) (P = 0.025) but not with OM3-FFA 4 g/d (1.3%). Total cholesterol and VLDL-C concentrations were reduced compared with OO with both OM3-FFA dosages, and the total cholesterol/HDL-C ratio and apo AI and apo B levels were significantly lowered with OM3-FFA 4 g/d only (all at least P < 0.05). Percent changes from baseline in HDL-C did not differ between OO and either OM3-FFA group. Plasma concentrations of docosahexaenoic acid, eicosapentaenoic acid, and docosapentaenoic acid were significantly increased and arachidonic acid was significantly reduced in both OM3-FFA treatment groups compared with the OO responses (all, P < 0.001). Withdrawals related to treatment-emergent adverse events ranged from 0.9% with OO to 3.2% with OM3-FFA 4 g/d.
Conclusions: OM3-FFA was well tolerated and lowered non-HDL-C and TG levels at both 2- and 4-g/d dosages in patients with persistent hypertriglyceridemia taking a statin, with the 4-g/d dosage providing incremental improvements compared with 2 g/d.
Trial registration: ClinicalTrials.gov NCT01408303.
Keywords: LDL-C; hypertriglyceridemia; omega-3 fatty acids; statins; triglycerides.
© 2013 Elsevier HS Journals, Inc. All rights reserved.