The UK National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE) has recommended Amarin’s icosapent ethyl (Vazkepa) for reducing the risk of cardiovascular events, such as heart attacks and strokes, in adults with increased levels of triglycerides, a type of blood fat.

According to the published final draft guidance, icosapent ethyl is indicated for use in adults with cardiovascular disease and controlled low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C) levels taking a statin but are at residual increased risk of cardiovascular events and have elevated triglyceride levels.

With the latest development, the new treatment will benefit nearly 425,000 individuals.

Icosapent ethyl is said to be the first licensed therapy that demonstrated to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke in individuals with controlled LDL-C or ‘bad’ cholesterol who are on a statin and have raised triglycerides.

According to clinical trial data, icosapent ethyl showed to lower the risk of cardiovascular events in people by more than a quarter versus placebo in individuals with evaluated triglyceride levels, LDL-C levels controlled by statins and cardiovascular disease,

NICE medicines evaluation interim director Helen Knight said: “Icosapent ethyl is the first licensed treatment of its kind for people who are at risk of heart attacks and strokes despite well-controlled LDL cholesterol because they have raised blood fats. 

“We have worked closely with the company to identify the population most likely to gain the greatest benefit from icosapent ethyl, striking a balance between effectiveness and the best use of public funding, delivering maximum value to the taxpayer.”

As per the National Health Service (NHS) England estimates, 25% to 35% of individuals taking statin therapy have raised triglyceride levels. 

Previously, no therapies were indicated for people at risk of cardiovascular events with elevated triglycerides, having statins with or without ezetimibe, a type of anti-cholesterol treatment.

NICE anticipates publishing the final guidance on icosapent ethyl next month.

In May this year, NICE recommended Roche’s faricimab (Vabysmo) for treating adults with wet age-related macular degeneration (AMD) or diabetic macular oedema (DMO).