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New drug cuts risk of heart attack, study finds

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By Linda Carroll and Lauren Dunn

A fish oil-derived medication may lessen the likelihood of a heart attack or stroke in patients who are at high risk despite taking statin therapy, a new study finds.

The medication, which contains high doses of the omega-3 fatty acid EPA, cut the risk of death due to cardiovascular causes, heart attack and stroke by 25 percent, the researchers found. And that was on top of the risk reduction brought about by cholesterol-lowering statins, according to the study, published Saturday in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The patients in the new study all had elevated triglyceride levels, with nearly 71 percent having been diagnosed with atherosclerosis and/or already having had a heart attack or stroke and the rest with multiple risk factors, but no heart disease yet.

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