Omega-3 free fatty acids for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia: the EpanoVa fOr Lowering Very high triglyceridEs (EVOLVE) trial

J Clin Lipidol. 2014 Jan-Feb;8(1):94-106. doi: 10.1016/j.jacl.2013.10.003. Epub 2013 Oct 14.


Background: Omega-3 fatty acids in free fatty acid form have enhanced bioavailability, and plasma levels are less influenced by food than for ethyl ester forms.

Objective: The aim was to evaluate the safety and lipid-altering efficacy in subjects with severe hypertriglyceridemia of an investigational pharmaceutical omega-3 free fatty acid (OM3-FFA) containing eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid.

Methods: This was a multinational, double-blind, randomized, out-patient study. Men and women with triglycerides (TGs) ≥ 500 mg/dL, but <2000 mg/dL, took control (olive oil [OO] 4 g/d; n = 99), OM3-FFA 2 g/d (plus OO 2 g/d; n = 100), OM3-FFA 3 g/d (plus OO 1 g/d; n = 101), or OM3-FFA 4 g/d (n = 99) capsules for 12 weeks in combination with the National Cholesterol Education Program Therapeutic Lifestyle Changes diet.

Results: Fasting serum TGs changed from baseline by -25.9% (P < .01 vs OO), -25.5% (P < .01 vs OO), and -30.9% (P < .001 vs OO) with 2, 3, and 4 g/d OM3-FFA, respectively, compared with -4.3% with OO. Non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C), total cholesterol-to-HDL-C ratio, very low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, remnant-like particle cholesterol, apolipoprotein CIII, lipoprotein-associated phospholipase A2, and arachidonic acid were significantly lowered (P < .05 at each OM3-FFA dosage vs OO); and plasma eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid were significantly elevated (P < .001 at each OM3-FFA dosage vs OO). With OM3-FFA 2 and 4 g/d (but not 3 g/d), low-density lipoprotein cholesterol was significantly increased compared with OO (P < .05 vs OO). High-sensitivity C-reactive protein responses with OM3-FFA did not differ significantly from the OO response at any dosage. Fewer subjects reported any adverse event with OO vs OM3-FFA, but frequencies across dosage groups were similar. Discontinuation due to adverse event, primarily gastrointestinal, ranged from 5% to 7% across OM3-FFA dosage groups vs 0% for OO.

Conclusions: OM3-FFA achieved the primary end point for TG lowering and secondary end point of non-HDL-C lowering at 2, 3, and 4 g/d in persons with severe hypertriglyceridemia. This trial was registered at as NCT01242527.

Keywords: Hypertriglyceridemia; Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol; Omega-3 fatty acids; Remnants; Treatment; Triglycerides.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Endpoint Determination
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / adverse effects
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / drug therapy*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Triglycerides / blood*


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Triglycerides

Associated data