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New Research from The Jewish Hospital - Mercy Health Provides Easy Treatment Option for Patients with High Triglyceride Count

(CINCINNATI; December 6, 2012) – They’ve tried all the conventional therapies – cutting out alcohol, optimal diabetes control, weight loss, eating the best low fat diet, increasing their physical activity, as well as conventional Fibric acid drug treatments – and yet some patients who’ve inherited high triglycerides can’t get their count down below the dangerously high level of 500 mg/dl. That’s a bad thing, because a high level of triglycerides, which are a type of fat in our blood, increases risk for potentially lethal pancreatitis, as well as heart attacks and strokes.

Today, however, Charles Glueck, MD, Medical Director of the Cholesterol and Metabolism Center at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health has an answer for these patients.

“In patients who had high triglyceride levels above 500 mg/dl despite optimal conventional medical regimens, we examined the efficacy and safety of increasing one component of these patients’ medical program. We provided higher than usual doses of a purified omega-3 fatty acid sold under the brand name Lovaza, which is available by prescription,” said Dr. Glueck.

“The Food and Drug Administration-approved dose is up to 4g. Working under an FDA protocol and with The Jewish Hospital and FDA approval, we increased that to 8g/day for one month. If that did not suffice to lower triglyceride to less than 500 mg/dl, then we increased the dose to 12g/day for one month. We were successful in lowering the triglyceride count in these hard-to-treat patients.”

Previous preliminary research by the group had indicated that increasing the dose of Lovaza to 8 to 12 grams per day was safe and effective for these patients.

“Our next question was ‘Would this have any adverse side effects which could negatively affect the person's health?’ The answer was no,” says Dr. Glueck. “Thanks to this research, we have now provided an additional avenue to successful treatment that’s practical and easily available for use by physicians worldwide immediately.”

Dr. Glueck notes that Lovaza is four to five times more potent than over-the-counter omega-3 fatty acid supplements. It’s also free of mercury.

“People reading this should not assume they would get same benefit by taking 8 to 12g of an over-the-counter product,” he cautions, saying that patients with high triglyceride counts should speak with their physician before starting a course of treatment.

Dr. Glueck studied 15 patients with a median triglyceride count of 884 mg/dl for three months. Lipids in Health and Disease published their study on October 30, 2012. Three Jewish Hospital Internal Medical Residents, Drs. Naseer Khan, Muhammed Riaz, and Jagjit Padda, and Dr. Zia Khan (Family Practice Residency, Wright State) and Ping Wang, PhD, all of the Cholesterol and Metabolism Center at The Jewish Hospital – Mercy Health, also contributed to the study.

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