Patients with elevated serum triglyceride (TG) levels often have elevations in non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (non-HDL-C) levels as well. The National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III (NCEP ATP III) has identified non-HDL-C as a secondary therapeutic target in these patients, but treatment goals may not be reached with statin monotherapy alone.
This study evaluated the effects on non-HDL-C and other variables of adding prescription omega-3-acid ethyl esters (P-OM3; Lovaza, formerly Omacor [Reliant Pharmaceuticals, Inc., Liberty Corner, New Jersey]) to stable statin therapy in patients with persistent hypertriglyceridemia.
This was a multicenter, randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled, parallel-group study in adults who had received > or = 8 weeks of stable statin therapy and had mean fasting TG levels > or = 200 and < 500 mg/dL and mean low-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels < or = 10% above their NCEP ATP III goal. The study regimen consisted of an initial 8 weeks of open-label simvastatin 40 mg/d and dietary counseling, followed by 8 weeks of randomized treatment with double-blind P-OM3 4 g/d plus simvastatin 40 mg/d or placebo plus simvastatin 40 mg/d. The main outcome measure was the percent change in non-HDL-C from baseline to the end of treatment.
The evaluable population included 254 patients, of whom 57.5% (146) were male and 95.7% (243) were white. The mean (SD) age of the population was 59.8 (10.4) years, and the mean weight was 92.0 (19.6) kg. At the end of treatment, the median percent change in non-HDL-C was significantly greater with P-OM3 plus simvastatin compared with placebo plus simvastatin (-9.0% vs -2.2%, respectively; P < 0.001). P-OM3 plus simvastatin was associated with significant reductions in TG (29.5% vs 6.3%) and very-low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (27.5% vs 7.2%), a significant increase in high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL-C) (3.4% vs -1.2%), and a significant reduction in the total cholesterol:HDL-C ratio (9.6% vs 0.7%) (all, P < 0.001 vs placebo). Adverse events (AEs) reported by > or= 1% of patients in the P-OM3 group that occurred with a higher frequency than in the group that received simvastatin alone were nasopharyngitis (4 [3.3%]), upper respiratory tract infection (4 [3.3%]), diarrhea (3 [2.5%]), and dyspepsia (3 [2.5%]). There was no significant difference in the frequency of AEs between groups. No serious AEs were considered treatment related.
In these adult, mainly white patients with persistent hypertriglyceridemia, P-OM3 plus simvastatin and dietary counseling improved non-HDL-C and other lipid and lipoprotein parameters to a greater extent than simvastatin alone.