STRENGTH trial finds new fish oil medication did not reduce the risk of cardiac events

November 15, 2020

DALLAS, Nov. 15, 2020 -- The fish oil-based medication known as omega-3 carboxylic acids or omega-3 CA did not decrease the risk of cardiac events compared to a placebo, according to late-breaking research presented today at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2020. The virtual meeting is Friday, November 13-Tuesday, November 17, 2020, and is a premier global exchange of the latest scientific advancements, research and evidence-based clinical practice updates in cardiovascular science for health care worldwide.

Fish oil supplements containing the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) or docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are commonly taken to prevent or reduce complications of heart disease.

A 2017 American Heart Association Science Advisory noted that omega-3 fish oil supplements prescribed by a health care professional may help prevent death from heart disease in patients who recently had a heart attack and may prevent death and hospitalizations in patients with heart failure. However, there is a lack of scientific research to support clinical use of these supplements to prevent heart disease in the general population.

"Many people continue to take fish oil supplements to prevent heart disease. However, the fish oil medication we tested in the STRENGTH trial was not effective for that purpose," said lead author A. Michael Lincoff, M.D., vice chairman for Research of the Department of Cardiovascular Medicine and an interventional cardiologist in the Heart, Vascular & Thoracic Institute at the Cleveland Clinic.

"We believe the questions surrounding the benefit versus risk of fish oil will remain unanswered unless another trial using a neutral placebo such as corn oil is able to definitively show cardiovascular benefits for an omega-3 fatty acid medication," he said.

This phase III international study evaluated omega-3 CA in 13,078 adults at 675 centers in 22 countries. The patients were all being treated with cholesterol-lowering statins and had either blockages of the arteries to the heart, brain or legs or were at increased risk for heart disease due to other medical conditions such as diabetes or lifestyle risk factors such as smoking.

Participants were randomly assigned to receive either 4 grams of the omega-3 CA medication or the corn oil placebo daily. Researchers compared the rate of cardiovascular death, heart attack, stroke, need for coronary revascularization (stenting or bypass surgery) or hospitalization for unstable angina for all patient groups.

The study began in 2014 and was stopped slightly early, in January 2020, because preliminary results of the study deemed it unlikely to prove the benefit omega-3 CA medication. Over a median follow up time of about three years, 1,580 patients experienced at least one cardiac event. There were no significant differences in the number of patients experiencing cardiac events between the two treatment groups. Additionally, a potentially dangerous abnormal heart rhythm (atrial fibrillation) occurred more frequently among patients taking the omega-3 CA medication than in those receiving the control corn oil.
-end-
Co-authors are Stephen J. Nicholls, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Michelle Garcia, R.N., B.S.N., C.C.R.C.; Dianna Bash, R.N.; Christie M. Ballantyne, M.D.; Philip Barter, M.B.B.S., Ph.D.; Michael H. Davidson, M.D.; John J.P. Kastelein, M.D., Ph.D.; Wolfgang Koenig, M.D., Ph.D.; Darren K. McGuire, M.D.; Dariush Mozaffarian, M.D., Dr.P.H.; Terje Rolf Pedersen, M.D.; Paul M. Ridker, M.D., Ph.D.; Kausik Ray, M.B.Ch.B.; Brian Katona, Pharm.D.; Anders Himmelmann, M.D., Ph.D.; Larrye Ellis Loss, Pharm.D., MBA; and Martin Rensfeldt,. Author disclosures are in the abstract.

The study was funded by AstraZeneca.

Presentation: Fish Oil, Fancy Drugs, and Frustrations in Lipid Management.

Additional Resources:

Multimedia is available on the right column of the release link https://newsroom.heart.org/news/strength-trial-finds-new-fish-oil-medication-did-not-reduce-the-risk-of-cardiac-events?preview=3a255259e75a9e3202f60abfad7e5fc5

Fish oil supplements may help prevent death after a heart attack but lack evidence of cardiovascular benefit for the general population

Prevention and Treatment of High Cholesterol (Hyperlipidemia)

Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids

For more news at AHA Scientific Sessions 2020, follow us on Twitter @HeartNews

Statements and conclusions of studies that are presented at the American Heart Association's scientific meetings are solely those of the study authors and do not necessarily reflect the Association's policy or position. The Association makes no representation or guarantee as to their accuracy or reliability. The Association receives funding primarily from individuals; foundations and corporations (including pharmaceutical, device manufacturers and other companies) also make donations and fund specific Association programs and events. The Association has strict policies to prevent these relationships from influencing the science content. Revenues from pharmaceutical and biotech companies, device manufacturers and health insurance providers are available here, and the Association's overall financial information is available here.

About the American Heart Association

The American Heart Association is a leading force for a world of longer, healthier lives. With nearly a century of lifesaving work, the Dallas-based association is dedicated to ensuring equitable health for all. We are a trustworthy source empowering people to improve their heart health, brain health and well-being. We collaborate with numerous organizations and millions of volunteers to fund innovative research, advocate for stronger public health policies, and share lifesaving resources and information. Connect with us on heart.org, Facebook, Twitter or by calling 1-800-AHA-USA1.

American Heart Association

Related Heart Disease Articles from Brightsurf:

Cellular pathway of genetic heart disease similar to neurodegenerative disease
Research on a genetic heart disease has uncovered a new and unexpected mechanism for heart failure.

Mechanism linking gum disease to heart disease, other inflammatory conditions discovered
The link between periodontal (gum) disease and other inflammatory conditions such as heart disease and diabetes has long been established, but the mechanism behind that association has, until now, remained a mystery.

New 'atlas' of human heart cells first step toward precision treatments for heart disease
Scientists have for the first time documented all of the different cell types and genes expressed in the healthy human heart, in research published in the journal Nature.

With a heavy heart: How men and women develop heart disease differently
A new study by researchers from McGill University has uncovered that minerals causing aortic heart valve blockage in men and women are different, a discovery that could change how heart disease is diagnosed and treated.

Heart-healthy diets are naturally low in dietary cholesterol and can help to reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke
Eating a heart-healthy dietary pattern rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low-fat dairy products, poultry, fish, legumes, vegetable oils and nuts, which is also limits salt, red and processed meats, refined-carbohydrates and added sugars, is relatively low in dietary cholesterol and supports healthy levels of artery-clogging LDL cholesterol.

Pacemakers can improve heart function in patients with chemotherapy-induced heart disease
Research has shown that treating chemotherapy-induced cardiomyopathy with commercially available cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) delivered through a surgically implanted defibrillator or pacemaker can significantly improve patient outcomes.

Arsenic in drinking water may change heart structure raising risk of heart disease
Drinking water that is contaminated with arsenic may lead to thickening of the heart's main pumping chamber in young adults, according to a new study by researchers at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health.

New health calculator can help predict heart disease risk, estimate heart age
A new online health calculator can help people determine their risk of heart disease, as well as their heart age, accounting for sociodemographic factors such as ethnicity, sense of belonging and education, as well as health status and lifestyle behaviors.

Wide variation in rate of death between VA hospitals for patients with heart disease, heart failure
Death rates for veterans with ischemic heart disease and chronic heart failure varied widely across the Veterans Affairs (VA) health care system from 2010 to 2014, which could suggest differences in the quality of cardiovascular health care provided by VA medical centers.

Heart failure: The Alzheimer's disease of the heart?
Similar to how protein clumps build up in the brain in people with some neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases, protein clumps appear to accumulate in the diseased hearts of mice and people with heart failure, according to a team led by Johns Hopkins University researchers.

Read More: Heart Disease News and Heart Disease Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.