A medication made from fish oil, Vascepa is prescribed to help treat high triglycerides. This drug comes as capsules that are taken twice daily with food. Clinical studies have shown that this product can help lower triglyceride levels without increasing cholesterol levels. It is thought to work by decreasing triglyceride production in the liver and breaking down triglycerides in the bloodstream.
What Is Vascepa?
Vascepa™ (icosapent ethyl) is a prescription medication approved for the treatment of extremely high triglycerides. It is made from fish oil and is highly refined to contain a high percentage of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) by using a chemical reaction that slightly alters the chemical structure of the molecule.
Vascepa is manufactured by Banner Pharmacaps for Amarin Pharma, Inc.
How Does Vascepa Work?
Vascepa contains the omega-3 fatty acid EPA. Although the specifics of exactly how EPA works are not fully understood yet, it is known that it decreases the liver's production of triglycerides and increases the breakdown of triglycerides in the bloodstream.
In studies, people with high triglycerides who took Vascepa lowered their triglyceride levels by 27 percent, while people who took a placebo (a "sugar pill" that does not contain any active ingredients) actually increased their triglycerides by 10 percent. Studies have shown that Vascepa does not seem to increase LDLcholesterol ("bad cholesterol"), a problem that has been a concern with other omega fatty acid products.
Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research. Electronic orange book: approved drug products with therapeutic equivalence evaluations. FDA Web site. Available at: http://www.fda.gov/cder/ob/. Accessed September 20, 2012.
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