It’s long been known that eating fish, especially cold-water fish such as salmon that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, is good for heart health.
But, for the millions of Americans who are at high risk of heart disease, eating enough fish to make a difference isn’t likely to be realistic for most.
There’s growing evidence that taking a very high-dose of purified fish oil, delivered in a prescription pill, can help prevent heart attacks and strokes among people who have elevated risks. The amount of fish oil in the daily recommended dose of the pill is the equivalent of eating about 8 to 10 servings of salmon a day.
In early November, an advisory panel to the FDA voted unanimously to approve expanded use of the prescription drug, Vascepa, which is made from one type of omega-3 fatty acid, called eicosapentaenoic acid, or EPA for short. The oil is extracted from sardines and anchovies, and then purified.
Currently, Vascepa, is already approved for use in people with very high levels of triglycerides — which is a type of fat in the blood. (You can check your triglycerides as part of a cholesterol screening.)