Icosapent Ethyl (Vascepa®) for the Treatment of Acute, Severe Pancreatitis

Link to article at PubMed

Cureus. 2020 Nov 18;12(11):e11551. doi: 10.7759/cureus.11551.


Acute pancreatitis is the most common gastrointestinal pathology that warrants hospital admission, with an estimated incidence of 13-45/100,000 annually in the US. The overall mortality is low but is significantly increased in 15-25% of patients that develop severe disease, likely secondary to an increase in inflammation and an exaggerated response, sometimes referred to as a cytokine storm. Management is largely supportive, and no specific cure exists to hasten recovery. Icosapent Ethyl (IPE, Vascepa®) is an omega-3 fatty acid derivative that is indicated for the treatment of hypertriglyceridemia and has been shown to improve mortality from cardiovascular causes, likely through an anti-inflammatory mechanism. We report here a case of very severe, abrupt acute alcoholic pancreatitis in a 31-year-old male, requiring intensive care unit admission, ventilation, and support with multiple vasoactive medications. Shortly after the initiation of IPE, the patient started to improve and ultimately made a complete recovery. His initially greatly elevated inflammatory markers downtrended quickly under IPE treatment and he followed with a remarkable clinical recovery. Several previous studies, such as the Patients With Persistent High Triglyceride Levels (≥ 200 mg/dL and < 500 mg/dL) Despite Statin Therapy (ANCHOR; NCT01047501) and the Multi-Center, PlAcebo-Controlled, Randomized, Double-BlINd, 12-week study with an open-label Extension (MARINE; NCT01047683), provided evidence of the anti-inflammatory activity of IPE. In our case, we provide the first evidence to support its use as a direct anti-inflammatory in severe disease. With the absence of direct therapy and the significant mortality from severe acute pancreatitis, IPE can be a breakthrough therapy. Its treatment is not limited to pancreatitis only, and it may also be beneficial in other cases of severe inflammation. Though anecdotal, this case provides evidence to support further study of IPE in states of exaggerated inflammation.

PMID:33365220 | PMC:PMC7748593 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.11551

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