FDA grants Priority Review to Vascepa for cardiovascular risk reduction


The Food and Drug Administration has granted a Priority Review to the supplemental new drug application for icosapent ethyl (Vascepa).

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If approved, Vascepa – which is produced by Amarin – would be the first drug indicated to reduce residual cardiovascular risk in patients with LDL cholesterol managed by statins who still have persistent elevated triglycerides. The drug is now approved for reducing triglyceride levels in patients with baseline values of 500 mg/dL or greater.

The Priority Review is based on results of REDUCE-IT, a landmark cardiovascular outcomes trial whose primary results were presented at the American Heart Association scientific sessions last November and published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Vascepa achieved the primary study endpoint, reducing the relative risk for the first occurrence of a major adverse cardiovascular event significantly, by 25%.

The drug also met the study’s key secondary endpoint, reducing the incidence of a composite of cardiovascular death, nonfatal heart attack, and nonfatal stroke by 26%. Significant adverse events associated with Vascepa in the trial were peripheral edema, constipation, and atrial fibrillation.

Vascepa is currently indicated as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride in adults with severe hypertriglyceridemia, a significantly smaller population than that represented in REDUCE-IT.

“We expect earlier approval of an expanded indication for Vascepa to lead to faster improvements in care for millions of patients with residual cardiovascular risk after statin therapy,” John F. Thero, president and CEO of Amarin, said in the statement.

The FDA is expected to issue a complete response by the end of September. Find the full press release on the Amarin website.

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