Olezarsen, Acute Pancreatitis, and Familial Chylomicronemia Syndrome

N Engl J Med. 2024 May 16;390(19):1781-1792. doi: 10.1056/NEJMoa2400201. Epub 2024 Apr 7.


Background: Familial chylomicronemia syndrome is a genetic disorder associated with severe hypertriglyceridemia and severe acute pancreatitis. Olezarsen reduces the plasma triglyceride level by reducing hepatic synthesis of apolipoprotein C-III.

Methods: In a phase 3, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial, we randomly assigned patients with genetically identified familial chylomicronemia syndrome to receive olezarsen at a dose of 80 mg or 50 mg or placebo subcutaneously every 4 weeks for 49 weeks. There were two primary end points: the difference between the 80-mg olezarsen group and the placebo group in the percent change in the fasting triglyceride level from baseline to 6 months, and (to be assessed if the first was significant) the difference between the 50-mg olezarsen group and the placebo group. Secondary end points included the mean percent change from baseline in the apolipoprotein C-III level and an independently adjudicated episode of acute pancreatitis.

Results: A total of 66 patients underwent randomization; 22 were assigned to the 80-mg olezarsen group, 21 to the 50-mg olezarsen group, and 23 to the placebo group. At baseline, the mean (±SD) triglyceride level among the patients was 2630±1315 mg per deciliter, and 71% had a history of acute pancreatitis within the previous 10 years. Triglyceride levels at 6 months were significantly reduced with the 80-mg dose of olezarsen as compared with placebo (-43.5 percentage points; 95% confidence interval [CI], -69.1 to -17.9; P<0.001) but not with the 50-mg dose (-22.4 percentage points; 95% CI, -47.2 to 2.5; P = 0.08). The difference in the mean percent change in the apolipoprotein C-III level from baseline to 6 months in the 80-mg group as compared with the placebo group was -73.7 percentage points (95% CI, -94.6 to -52.8) and between the 50-mg group as compared with the placebo group was -65.5 percentage points (95% CI, -82.6 to -48.3). By 53 weeks, 11 episodes of acute pancreatitis had occurred in the placebo group, and 1 episode had occurred in each olezarsen group (rate ratio [pooled olezarsen groups vs. placebo], 0.12; 95% CI, 0.02 to 0.66). Adverse events of moderate severity that were considered by a trial investigator at the site to be related to the trial drug or placebo occurred in 4 patients in the 80-mg olezarsen group.

Conclusions: In patients with familial chylomicronemia syndrome, olezarsen may represent a new therapy to reduce plasma triglyceride levels. (Funded by Ionis Pharmaceuticals; Balance ClinicalTrials.gov number, NCT04568434.).

Publication types

  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Clinical Trial, Phase III
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Acute Disease
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Apolipoprotein C-III* / blood
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type I* / blood
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type I* / complications
  • Hyperlipoproteinemia Type I* / drug therapy
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / blood
  • Hypertriglyceridemia / drug therapy
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oligonucleotides / adverse effects
  • Oligonucleotides / therapeutic use
  • Pancreatitis* / drug therapy
  • Triglycerides* / blood
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ClinicalTrials.gov/NCT04568434