Understanding triglycerides and cholesterol.

There is often confusion around the difference between triglycerides and cholesterol. Triglycerides and cholesterol both belong to a group of fats, also known
as lipids, which play an essential role in your body.

What Are Triglycerides?

Triglycerides store unused calories to give your body energy and are the most common type of fat in the body—but in very high amounts they can be harmful.

Triglycerides come from foods that you eat such as butter, oils and other fats. Your body can also make triglycerides from the extra calories that you eat. Triglycerides affect both men and women so it's important to get tested.

Why Should I Be Concerned
About Very High Triglycerides?

Patients with very high triglycerides may be at higher risk for serious medical conditions.

What Is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a biological building block that your body uses to make hormones and substances that help you digest the food you eat.

Why Should I Be Concerned
About High Cholesterol?

When a certain type of cholesterol,
also known as LDL-C, is high, patients may be at higher risk for heart attack and stroke.

Very High Triglycerides And Bad Cholesterol
Are Both Very Important To Treat.

If diet and exercise are not successful, doctors most commonly prescribe a class of drugs called statins (e.g. Atorvastatin, Simvastatin, or Rosuvastatin) to lower bad cholesterol (LDL-C).

When your triglycerides are very high, your doctor may prescribe a different type of medication like VASCEPA, which is the first and only Pure EPA prescription Omega-3* treatment approved by the FDA to lower very high triglyercides.

*Vascepa 1-gram capsules contain 1 gram of icosapent ethyl, a form of the unique Omega-3 fatty acid known as EPA, and inactive ingredients.

Couple cooking together

Knowing your
triglyceride levels.

You may not feel any symptoms of very high triglycerides so it's important to see your doctor and get blood work done regularly. If yours are very high, talk to your doctor about prescription VASCEPA along with a healthier diet and exercise.

Triglyceride levels are defined as follows:

  • Very high 
    500 mg/dL or higher
  • High 
    200 to 499 mg/dL
  • Borderline-high 
    150 to 199 mg/dL
  • Normal 
    less than 150 mg/dL

1NIH MedlinePlus Cholesterol 2018, NIH MedlinePlus Triglycerides Test 2017.

What are the causes?

From a high carbohydrate diet to lack of exercise, there are many causes of very high triglycerides. Here are some ways that triglyceride levels may become very high:

Poor Diet


What you eat and drink affects your triglyceride level, especially alcohol and processed carbohydrates.

Lack of Exercise

Lack of Exercise

Not burning as many calories as you take in may have an impact on your triglycerides.

Medical Conditions

Medical Conditions

Health conditions, such as diabetes, change how your body processes food.

Specific Drugs

Specific Drugs

Drugs, including estrogen tablets and blood pressure medications.



People with a family history of very high triglycerides may be more likely to develop them.


How VASCEPA can help.

VASCEPA, along with diet, is clinically proven to lower very high triglycerides in adults by 33%, without raising bad cholesterol (LDL-C).

It’s FDA-approved
to lower very high triglyceride levels.

Learn More

In MARINE trial, on average, along with diet changes, adults with very high triglycerides experienced a 33% reduction without raising LDL-C vs. placebo. Individual results may vary.

Patient talking to doctor about VASCEPA

Helpful questions to discuss with your doctor.

You're working hard to lower very high triglycerides, yet they might still be very high. Here are some questions many patients have.

Print these talking points to discuss with your doctor at your next visit, and see if VASCEPA is right for you.

Sign Up For the VASCEPA Clear Path Program.

Once a month you'll receive helpful tips like delicious healthy recipes, easy and effective exercises you can do at home, and news about VASCEPA.


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VASCEPA is a prescription medicine used along with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet to lower high levels of triglycerides (fats) in adults.

  • It is not known if VASCEPA changes your risk of having inflammation of your pancreas (pancreatitis).
  • It is not known if VASCEPA prevents you from having a heart attack or stroke.
  • It is not known if VASCEPA is safe and effective in children.



  • Do not take VASCEPA if you are allergic to icosapent ethyl or any of the ingredients in VASCEPA.


  • It is not known if people who are allergic to fish or shellfish are also allergic to VASCEPA.
  • If you have liver problems and are taking VASCEPA, your doctor should do blood tests during treatment.
  • The most common side effect of VASCEPA is joint pain. Talk to your doctor for medical advice about side effects.

As with all drugs, you may experience a serious side effect when taking VASCEPA.

You may report side effects by calling 1-855-VASCEPA or the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Tell your doctor if you take medicines that affect your blood clotting (anticoagulants or blood thinners).

Take VASCEPA capsules whole. Do not break, crush, dissolve, or chew VASCEPA capsules before swallowing.

For more information on VASCEPA, click here to see the full Patient Information or call 1-855-VASCEPA (1-855-827-2372).