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Comparative analysis of the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids for hypertriglyceridaemia management in Korea.

WHAT IS KNOWN AND OBJECTIVE: This study aimed to compare the ability of statin monotherapy (ST group), omega-3 fatty acid monotherapy (OM_A group) and combination therapy with omega-3 fatty acids and a statin (OM_S group), to reduce triglyceride (TG) levels in patients with hypertriglyceridaemia.

METHODS: In this retrospective cohort study, we extracted data from the electronic medical records of patients initially prescribed either a statin or omega-3 fatty acids between January, 2009 and December, 2013. We performed a comparative analysis of the change in cholesterol levels between baseline and an average of 3 months later.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Data were extracted for 2071 patients. The average daily eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) ethyl ester and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) ethyl ester intake was 1689 mg, and 79-86% of the OM_A and OM_S groups were prescribed two omega-3 fatty acid capsules. At a baseline TG level of between 200 and 500 mg/dL, TG levels were reduced by 16 ± 2·8% in the ST group, 28 ± 2·8% in the OM_A group and 29 ± 2·3% in the OM_S group (P = 0·001 for ST group vs. OM_A and OM_S groups), with no difference between the OM_A and OM_S groups. At a baseline TG level ≥500 mg/dL, there was no difference in TG level reduction between the three groups (54 ± 7·3%, 55·8 ± 3·5% and 51·8 ± 6·8%, respectively, P = 0·851).

WHAT IS NEW AND CONCLUSION: Although omega-3 fatty acids are not considered the primary medication for hypertriglyceridaemia, the prescription of omega-3 fatty acids is justifiable if reduction in TG levels is judged to be necessary.

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