High-dose icosapent ethyl treatment makes minimal impact on non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Treating non-hospitalized COVID-19 patients with a high dose of purified omega-3 fatty acid does not reduce their risk needing to be hospitalized later on, according to new research presented at the American Heart Association’s Scientific Sessions 2021.

The researchers set out to determine how the purified omega-3 fatty acid, icosapent ethyl (IPE), might impact the outcomes of certain COVID-19 patients. A total of 2,000 patients with a positive COVID-19 diagnosis were included in the analysis. All patients were 40 years old or older and presented with certain COVID-19 symptoms such as a fever or a sore throat. However, all patients were healthy enough that they did not necessarily need to be hospitalized. 

Patients were randomized to receive either IPE or a placebo for 28 days. The first three days of IPE treatment included larger "loading doses" compared to the other days. 

Also, a smaller subgroup of patients self-reported the severity of their symptoms at the start of the study and after 28 days.

Overall, IPE treatment was found to be safe and well tolerated by patients. The authors found that there was a positive, though not statistically meaningful, trend toward the treatment providing value. 

However, reviewing the data, the team found that a patient's risk of COVID-19 hospitalization or mortality did not appear to be impacted by the treatment. 

“Based on observable outcomes, loading doses of IPE were safe and well tolerated,” study author Rafael Díaz, MD, director of Estudios Clínicos Latinoamérica in Rosario, Argentina, said in a prepared statement. “It’s unclear if a larger trial might support or refute the positive trends noted here with high-dose IPE treatment.”

More information on AHA Scientific Sessions 2021 can be found here

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