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Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Year: 2012  |  Volume: 6  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 565 - 572

Icosapent ethyl, a pure EPA omega-3 fatty acid: Effects on lipoprotein particle concentration and size in patients with very high triglyceride levels (the MARINE study)

Harold E. Bays, Rene A. Braeckman, Christie M. Ballantyne, John J. Kastelein, James D. Otvos, William G. Stirtan and Paresh N. Soni    



Icosapent ethyl (IPE; formerly AMR101) is a high-purity prescription form of eicosapentaenoic acid ethyl ester. In the MARINE study we evaluated the efficacy and safety of IPE in patients with very high triglycerides (TG; ≥500 mg/dL) and previously demonstrated significant reductions in TG levels with no significant increases in low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol levels.


In this follow-up, exploratory analysis, we report the effects of IPE on lipoprotein particle concentration and size.


MARINE was a phase 3, multicenter, placebo-controlled, randomized, double-blind, 12-week study. Hypertriglyceridemic patients (N = 229) were randomized to three treatment groups: IPE 4 g/day, IPE 2 g/day, or placebo. Lipoprotein particle concentrations and sizes were measured by nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy.


Compared with placebo, IPE 4 g/day significantly reduced median concentrations of large very-low-density lipoprotein (VLDL; −27.9%; P = .0211), total LDL (−16.3%; P = .0006), small LDL (−25.6%; P < .0001), and total high-density lipoprotein (HDL; −7.4%; P = .0063) particles and reduced VLDL particle size (−8.6%; P = .0017). In this patient population with TG ≥500 mg/dL, IPE did not significantly change the overall sizes of LDL or HDL particles.


IPE 4 g/day significantly reduced large VLDL, total LDL, small LDL, and total HDL particle concentrations and VLDL particle size in patients with TG ≥500 mg/dL. Changes in VLDL particle concentration and size reflect the TG-lowering effects of eicosapentaenoic acid. The reduction in LDL particle concentration with IPE is novel among ω-3 therapies and is consistent with the previously reported reduction in apolipoprotein B and lack of LDL-C increase with IPE in patients with very high TG levels.

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