WebMD Health News
Nov. 1, 2013 -- The cholesterol-lowering drug Crestor (rosuvastatin) was the nation's most prescribed drug in the past 12 months, according to a new report from research firm IMS Health. New "...
Monitoring: Laboratory Tests
VASCEPA contains ethyl esters of the omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), obtained from the oil of fish. It is not known whether patients with allergies to fish and/or shellfish are at increased risk of an allergic reaction to VASCEPA. VASCEPA should be used with caution in patients with known hypersensitivity to fish and/or shellfish.
Carcinogenesis, Mutagenesis, Impairment Of Fertility
In a 2-year rat carcinogenicity study with oral gavage doses of 0.09, 0.27, and 0.91 g/kg/day icosapent ethyl, respectively, males did not exhibit drug-related neoplasms. Hemangiomas and hemangiosarcomas of the mesenteric lymph node, the site of drug absorption, were observed in females at clinically relevant exposures based on body surface area comparisons across species relative to the maximum clinical dose of 4 g/day. Overall incidence of hemangiomas and hemangiosarcomas in all vascular tissues did not increase with treatment.
In a 6-month carcinogenicity study in Tg.rasH2 transgenic mice with oral gavage doses of 0.5, 1, 2, and 4.6 g/kg/day icosapent ethyl, drug-related incidences of benign squamous cell papilloma in the skin and subcutis of the tail was observed in high dose male mice. The papillomas were considered to develop secondary to chronic irritation of the proximal tail associated with fecal excretion of oil and therefore not clinically relevant. Drug-related neoplasms were not observed in female mice.
Icosapent ethyl was not mutagenic with or without metabolic activation in the bacterial mutagenesis (Ames) assay or in the in vivo mouse micronucleus assay. A chromosomal aberration assay in Chinese Hamster Ovary (CHO) cells was positive for clastogenicity with and without metabolic activation.
In an oral gavage rat fertility study, ethyl-EPA, administered at doses of 0.3, 1, and 3 g/kg/day to male rats for 9 weeks before mating and to female rats for 14 days before mating through day 7 of gestation, increased anogenital distance in female pups and increased cervical ribs were observed at 3 g/kg/day (7 times human systemic exposure with 4 g/day clinical dose based on a body surface area comparison).
Use In Specific Populations
Pregnancy Category C
There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in pregnant women. It is unknown whether VASCEPA can cause fetal harm when administered to a pregnant woman or can affect reproductive capacity. VASCEPA should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit to the patient justifies the potential risk to the fetus.
In pregnant rats given oral gavage doses of 0.3, 1 and 2 g/kg/day icosapent ethyl from gestation through organogenesis all drug treated groups had visceral or skeletal abnormalities including: 13th reduced ribs, additional liver lobes, testes medially displaced and/or not descended at human systemic exposures following a maximum oral dose of 4 g/day based on body surface comparisons. Variations including incomplete or abnormal ossification of various skeletal bones were observed in the 2 g/kg/day group at 5 times human systemic exposure following an oral dose of 4 g/day based on body surface area comparison.
In a multigenerational developmental study in pregnant rats given oral gavage doses of 0.3, 1, 3 g/kg/day ethyl-EPA from gestation day 7-17, an increased incidence of absent optic nerves and unilateral testes atrophy were observed at ≥ 0.3 g/kg/day at human systemic exposure following an oral dose of 4 g/day based on body surface area comparisons across species. Additional variations consisting of early incisor eruption and increased percent cervical ribs were observed at the same exposures. Pups from high dose treated dams exhibited decreased copulation rates, delayed estrus, decreased implantations and decreased surviving fetuses (F2) suggesting multigenerational effects of ethyl-EPA at 7 times human systemic exposure following 4 g/day dose based on body surface area comparisons across species.
In pregnant rabbits given oral gavage doses of 0.1, 0.3, and 1 g/kg/day from gestation through organogenesis there were increased dead fetuses at 1 g/kg/day secondary to maternal toxicity (significantly decreased food consumption and body weight loss).
In pregnant rats given ethyl-EPA from gestation day 17 through lactation day 20 at 0.3, 1, 3 g/kg/day complete litter loss was observed in 2/23 litters at the low dose and 1/23 mid-dose dams by post-natal day 4 at human exposures based on a maximum dose of 4 g/day comparing body surface areas across species.
Studies with omega-3-acid ethyl esters have demonstrated excretion in human milk. The effect of this excretion on the infant of a nursing mother is unknown; caution should be exercised when VASCEPA is administered to a nursing mother. An animal study in lactating rats given oral gavage 14C-ethyl EPA demonstrated that drug levels were 6 to 14 times higher in milk than in plasma.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
Of the total number of subjects in clinical studies of VASCEPA, 33% were 65 years of age and over. No overall differences in safety or effectiveness were observed between these subjects and younger subjects, and other reported clinical experience has not identified differences in responses between the elderly and younger patients, but greater sensitivity of some older individuals cannot be ruled out.
Last reviewed on RxList: 12/6/2013
This monograph has been modified to include the generic and brand name in many instances.
Additional Vascepa Information
- Vascepa Drug Interactions Center: icosapent ethyl oral
- Vascepa Side Effects Center
- Vascepa FDA Approved Prescribing Information including Dosage
Report Problems to the Food and Drug Administration
You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA. Visit the FDA MedWatch website or call 1-800-FDA-1088.
Tips to keep it under control.