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How long does it take Vascepa to work?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

Official answer


It takes approximately one year for Vascepa to start reducing cardiovascular risk and up to almost five years for the full effects to be seen. In the REDUCE-IT trial, Vascepa significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular events, such as cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke, coronary revascularization, or hospitalization for unstable angina by about 25% after approximately 4.9 years. In those with atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease (ASCVD), the risk of events decreased by 35% after 4.9 years.

Laboratory results showed that the average starting levels of triglycerides and LDL-C were similar between the Vascepa and placebo groups, but after one year of taking Vascepa, there was a significant difference between these values between the two groups. The median change in triglycerides from baseline in the Vascepa group after one year was -39 mg/dL (or a drop of 18%) and 5 mg/dL in the placebo group (an increase of 2%). The median change in LDL-C from baseline after one year was 2 mg/dL (an increase of 3%) in the Vascepa group and 7 mg/dL (an increase of 10%) in the placebo group.

How does Vascepa work?

Vascepa is thought to work by reducing the production of triglycerides by the liver and enhancing their clearance from lipid particles, via several different mechanisms. This decreases triglyceride levels in the body.

If Vascepa is taken alongside a Mediterranean-style, low-carbohydrate diet that reduces body weight by 5% to 10% and contains no trans fats in addition to a regular exercise regimen, then triglyceride levels are expected to reduce by up to 50%.
Vascepa only contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), whereas most other fish oils (including prescription fish oils) contain both EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). By only containing EPA, Vascepa reduces high triglycerides without raising levels of “bad” cholesterol or LDL-C.


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