Icosapent Ethyl Found to Significantly Reduce Cardiovascular Risk in Patients with Smoking History


New research suggests that icosapent ethyl can significantly decrease cardiovascular risk among former or current smokers with other cardiovascular risk factors.

Patients with a history of smoking experienced a significant reduction in cardiovascular event risk while on icosapent ethyl (Vascepa/Vazkepa; Amarin), according to a recent study by Amarin Corporation. These data were published in EHJ Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy after being presented for the European Society of Cardiology Congress 2022.

“While smoking cessation should always be recommended as a primary step to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events, these data raise the possibility that icosapent ethyl treatment may reduce the excess cardiovascular risks in patients with a history of smoking, or current smokers, and other CV risk factors,” said Michael Miller, MD, cardiologist and chief of Medicine, Corporal Michael J Crescenz Veterans Affairs Medical Center and vice chair of Medicine, Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, in a press release.

Deaths from cardiovascular (CV) disease (CVD) continue to the rise in the United States. More than 800,000 heart attacks happen each year, and the rate of stroke is 795,000 cases per year. In total, more than 800,000 patients in the United States die from CV disease each year, which emphasizes the importance of reducing risks in current and former smokers.

Controlling low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) has been found to reduce deadly cardiovascular events, such as heart attack or stroke. Statin therapy has been proven to control high LDL-C and reduce the risk of death by up to one-third, but millions of patients still have a significant risk of CV events with therapy.

In the REDUCE-IT trial, researchers aimed to analyze the effects of icosapent ethyl on a patient’s risk of CV events if they had a former or current history of smoking. As a global CV outcomes study, it evaluated icosapent ethyl on adult patients who were already on statin therapy to control high LDL-C.

The team of investigators examined 8179 patients worldwide over the course of 7 years. Participants in this FDA-assigned special protocol assessment agreement also had numerous cardiovascular risk factors including elevated triglycerides between 135-499 mg/dL, diabetes mellitus or established CVD, and 1 or more other risk factors.

The participants were divided into groups, which included never smokers (the control group), former smokers, and current smokers. Icosapent ethyl was given to the current and former smokers, who were compared against the placebo group of never smokers.

Icosapent ethyl treatment was found to reduce the risk of CV events by nearly 24% in current smokers, according to the post hoc analysis, which was similar to a 25.7% improvement among never-smokers. Risk of CV death, myocardial infarction, stroke, coronary revascularization, and unstable angina in current or former smokers also decreased by 23%. This risk was reduced to 29% in former smokers.

REDUCE-IT was limited as it was not powered for subgroup analyses.

“These REDUCE-IT subgroup data provide us with valuable insight into the role IPE may play in helping reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in patients with a history of smoking to levels observed in those who are never-smokers,” Miller concluded in the press release.


Amarin. New Reduce-It® Data Show Vascepa®/Vazkepa® (Icosapent Ethyl) Reduced Cardiovascular Events In Patients Who Are Current Or Former Smokers. Amarin Corp website. August 28, 2022. Accessed on August 29, 2022. https://investor.amarincorp.com/news-releases/news-release-details/new-reduce-itr-data-show-vasceparvazkepar-icosapent-ethyl-0

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