Icosapent ethyl is in clinical development as a treatment to reduce the risk of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients who have their cholesterol levels controlled with statin treatment, but have elevated triglycerides and other cardiovascular risk factors. Cardiovascular events include heart attack, angina and stroke. These diseases are the main cause of death in the UK, accounting for over a quarter of deaths each year. Patients receiving statin treatment are still at a high risk and would benefit from treatment to reduce cardiovascular events.
Icosapent ethyl is an omega-3 fatty acid administered in a capsule. While the way the drug works is not yet known, it is thought to reduce lipid levels and inflammation which play a role in the development of cardiovascular diseases. It has been shown to reduce the risk of major cardiovascular events compared to the placebo in trials and if licenced, would provide an additional preventative therapy for patients on statins.