Hypertriglyceridemia is a highly prevalent lipid abnormality and it is associated with atherosclerosis, with a growing body of evidence linking elevated triglycerides (TGs) with cardiovascular disease. The current major omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA)/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) combination, lowers serum TGs while often increasing levels of low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. Icosapent ethyl is an omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid with a 96% pure ethyl ester of EPA that has been recently approved for lowering TG levels in patients with very high TGs (≥500 mg/dL), and it does so without significantly affecting serum low-density lipoprotein cholesterol. The potential benefits of omega-3 fatty acid therapy for dyslipidemias will be discussed, including the potential pros and cons of EPA alone versus the more common and readily available EPA/DHA combination therapy.
Keywords: docosahexaenoic acid; eicosapentaenoic acid; low-density lipoprotein; triglycerides.