We prospectively examined the additional effects of highly purified eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) particularly on the vascular function of diabetic patients with hypercholesterolemia receiving statin therapy.

We enrolled 28 patients with type 2 diabetes complicated by dyslipidemia who had been treated with statins for at least one year. The patients were randomly assigned to 2 groups: administration of statin alone (group S: n = 13) and addition of EPA to the current statin therapy (group SE: n = 15). The highly purified EPA was administered at a dose of 1,800 mg/day for 6 months. To evaluate vascular function, the duration of reactive hyperemia (DRH), which is the time required for forearm blood flow to return to the basal level after inducing reactive hyperemia, was measured using strain gauge plethysmography.

There were no significant differences in the clinical background factors between the 2 groups. Low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-C), and non-high-density lipoprotein cholesterol levels significantly decreased after 6 months only in group SE. Compared with the baseline data, no significant change in DRH was observed after 6 months in group S.

By contrast, DRH was significantly prolonged after 6 months in group SE, indicating that the addition of highly purified EPA improved vascular function.

Our results showed that in patients with type 2 diabetes and receiving statin therapy whose LDL-C level was less than 100 mg/dL, the addition of highly purified EPA for 6 months significantly improved vascular function.

PMID: 22293584

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