For a number of years now, fish oil supplements have been all the rage. Thanks to the omega-3 fatty acids found in the oil, the consumer was always told about their numerous health benefits, especially for a sound heart, good blood pressure and cholesterol levels. However, there’s a new fish oil pill in town, and this one appears to be the Rolls Royce of the entire group. It’s a prescription drug that is potent in the incredible benefits it can offer people.
The drug is called Vascepa (formally named icosapent ethyl), and it’s formulated with the purest amount of omega-3 fatty acid EPA. The prescription pill has emerged as a major winner in the latest clinical trial published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Researchers discovered that this super fish oil medication was able to cut the risk of death from heart attack and stroke by 25 percent. In addition, these findings are also important because the medication still performed effectively for those high-risk patients on statin therapy.
Vascepa contains large amounts of marine-derived EPA, but in this case, the ingredient has gone through an intricate chemical process to extract its amazing purity. Looking at over-the-counter fish oil supplements, there appears to be little comparison, according to the study. OTC fish oil pills contain a small bit of EPA but nowhere near the Vascepa prescription.
During the study, 8,179 patients were followed for nearly five years. Half of the patients received four grams of Vascepa, and the other half received a mineral oil placebo. The patients enrolled in the clinical trial were either at least age 45 with heart disease or diabetic and over 50 with another heart disease risk factor.
Fish oil pills also haven’t lived up to their hype as newer research reveals. The OTC kind doesn’t do much to protect the heart, says Dr. Deepak Bhatt. He’s the lead author of the study involving Vascepa and a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and executive director of interventional cardiovascular programs at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.
Vascepa’s maker is Amarin Pharmaceuticals of Bedminster, New Jersey.
Some health experts aren’t onboard with Vascepa yet. Steven Nissen, chairman of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, would like to see a “true” placebo used.