Deepak Bhatt, MD: Utility of Icosapent Ethyl in At-Risk Patient Populations


Dr. Bhatt discusses the growing field of knowledge surrounding icosapent ethyl treatment in cardiovascular care.

In an interview with HCPLive®, Deepak Bhatt, MD, Executive Director of Interventional Cardiovascular Programs at Brigham and Women's Health, discussed the findings of the REDUCE-IT trial and an analysis of REDUCE-IT patients with prior myocardial infarction.

Bhatt recently presented “Reduction in Ischemic Events, Including Cardiovascular Mortality, with Icosapent Ethyl in Patients with Prior Myocardial Infarction: REDUCE-IT PRIOR MI" online at the European Society of Cardiology (ESC) 2021 Congress.

In addition to outlining the trial and its findings, Bhatt discussed the utility of icosapent ethyl in both secondary use in therapies including statins, beta blockers, and antiplatelet therapy, as well as the potential benefit of the agent as a first-line treatment.

“On top of all those good things, even if the LDL is well controlled, there's still an incremental substantial significant benefit of icosapent ethyl versus placebo in this trial,” Bhatt said. “That's the good news. Even if you're doing everything you should for patients, this is an added benefit.”

Bhatt noted that although patients should be treated with a wide array of therapies, in patients who are statin intolerant, the benefit of icosapent ethyl is still apparent.

“I think it's fine to go ahead and use icosapent ethyl, it's certainly consistent with the labeling of the drug, where it recommends maximally tolerated statin use,” Bhatt said. “In some patients, that's going to end up being zero milligrams, and I think it's fine in those patients to use icosapent ethyl. In fact, those are going to be higher risk patients, because they're not getting the benefit of the statin.”

In addition, Bhatt discussed future research into the REDUCE-IT trial, as well as trials focusing on eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and omega-3 fatty acids. He noted there is still science to uncover around the molecular mechanisms of benefit of EPA, in both the cardiovascular field and others including infectious disease and neurology.

“Some of these studies I imagined might be positive, I suspect, some may not be, but we'll learn a lot more about the safety and tolerability of the drug and other populations and other dosing schemes,” Bhatt said. “There's going to be just a wealth of information that comes out in the years to come.”

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