Icosapent Ethyl Capsules May Be Used Off-Label to Treat High Triglycerides

Amarin may now promote off-label use of Vascepa (icosapent ethyl), including treatment for high triglycerides.

The pharmaceutical company Amarin announced that settlement terms have been reached to resolve the Amarin First Amendment litigation (Amarin Pharma Inc. et al. v. FDA et al.) regarding Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) capsules.

According to the terms, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA)  and the US government have agreed to be bound by the August 2015 judicial declaration that Amarin may participate in “truthful and non-misleading speech promoting the off-label use of Vascepa.”

This includes the use of Vascepa to treat patients with persistently high triglycerides, and “such speech may not form the basis of prosecution for misbranding,” according to the order of settlement. The company’s expanded promotion of Vascepa will continue as planned. 

Other major terms of the settlement include:

  • Amarin bears the responsibility of assuring that its communications to doctors regarding off-label use of Vascepa remain truthful and non-misleading.
  • The settlement terms are to be interpreted consistently with the August 7, 2015 opinion and order and are not to be construed to limit Amarin’s constitutional rights to free speech concerning Vascepa.
  • FDA has agreed to provide Amarin with an optional preclearance provision through 2020 for new off-label claims.
  • The parties have agreed to a dispute resolution provision designed to avoid future litigation on matters arising under the settlement order.
  • The court would retain jurisdiction over the matter to ensure compliance with and resolve any future dispute arising from the settlement order.

RELATED: Higher Triglyceride Levels Associated With Increased Mortality in Coronary Heart Disease

Vascepa, a lipid-regulating agent, was approved as an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride levels in adult patients with severe (≥500mg/dL) hypertriglyceridemia. An ongoing cardiovascular outcomes study, REDUCE-IT, is evaluating whether Vascepa will significantly reduce cardiovascular risk when added to statin therapy vs statins alone in high-risk patients with elevated triglyceride levels. 

John F. Thero, president and CEO of Amarin, stated, “With more truthful and non-misleading information readily available to healthcare professionals about the potential of Vascepa to improve cardiovascular health, this settlement serves the public interest by supporting informed medical decisions for tens of millions of patients with persistent high triglycerides.”


Amarin’s Right to Promote Vascepa(R) Off-Label Affirmed Under First Amendment Litigation Settlement [press release]; Bedminster, NJ and Dublin, Ireland: Amarin; March 8, 2016. http://investor.amarincorp.com/releasedetail.cfm?ReleaseID=959511. Accessed March 16, 2016.

This article originally appeared on MPR