Why is this medication prescribed?
People with very high triglycerides can lower their blood triglyceride levels by combining omega-3 fatty acids with lifestyle adjustments (diet, weight loss, exercise). A family of drugs known as antilipemic or lipid-regulating medicines includes omega-3 fatty acids. Reduced liver production of triglycerides and other lipids may be how omega-3 fatty acids act.
How should this medicine be used?
Prescription omega-3 fatty acids are available as liquid-filled gel capsules to be swallowed, such as omega-3 acid ethyl esters (Lovaza, Omytrg), icosapent ethyl esters (Vascepa), and omega-3 carboxylic acids (Epanova). The normal dosage of Epanova is one dose per day, with or without food. Typically, lovaza is taken once or twice daily, with or without food. Omytrg is typically taken with food once or twice per day. Vascepa is typically taken with meals twice a day. Omega-3 fatty acids sold over-the-counter come in gel capsules that are to be swallowed as advised on the label of the container. Take your daily dose of omega-3 fatty acids at around the same time(s). Ask your doctor or chemist to clarify any instructions on your prescription label or box that you do not understand, and carefully follow them. Take omega-3 fatty acids as prescribed. Never take it in quantities or frequencies other than those recommended by your doctor.
Do not split, chew, crush, dissolve, or split the capsules; instead, swallow them whole. Inform your doctor if you have trouble swallowing capsules whole.
For a copy of the manufacturer’s information for the patient, ask your chemist or doctor.
Other uses for this medicine
Ask your doctor or chemist for more details if you believe this drug should be used for something else.
What special precautions should I follow?
Before taking omega-3 fatty acids,
- Inform your doctor and chemist if you have any allergies to fish, including shellfish (clams, scallops, prawns, lobster, crayfish, crab, oyster and mussels), any other medications, or any of the components in omega-3 fatty acid capsules. This includes allergies to omega-3 fatty acids, including omega-3 acid ethyl esters, icosapent ethyl esters and omega-3 carboxylic acids Request a list of the ingredients from your chemist.
- Inform your doctor and chemist about any additional prescription and over-the-counter drugs, vitamins, dietary supplements, and herbal products you are now taking or intend to use. Any of the following should be mentioned: anticoagulants (often referred to as “blood thinners”) like warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); ticlopidine; cilostazol (Pletal), clopidrogrel (Plavix), dipyridamole (Persantine, in Aggrenox), and prasugrel (Effient); atenolol (Tenormin, Tenoretic), labetalol (Trandate), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL, in Dutoprol), nadolol (Corgard, in Corzide), and propranolol (Inderal, Innopran XL, in Inderide) are beta-blockers. Diuretics (‘water pills’); oestrogen replacement treatment and estrogen-containing contraceptives, such as birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections. The dosage of your drugs may need to be adjusted, and your health may need to be closely watched for any negative effects.
- Inform your doctor if you suffer from diabetes, atrial fibrillation, atrial flutter, liver, thyroid, or pancreatic disorders, all of which cause irregular heartbeats.
- Inform your physician if you are nursing a baby, intend to get pregnant, or are already pregnant. Call your doctor if you become pregnant while taking omega-3 fatty acids.
- Inquire with your doctor if you should consume alcohol while taking omega-3 fatty acids.
What special dietary instructions should I follow?
Consume a diet low in fat and cholesterol. Make sure to abide by all dietary and exercise advice given to you by your physician or nutritionist. For more dietary advice, you can also refer to the National Cholesterol Education Programme (NCEP) website at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf.
What should I do if I forget a dose?
If you miss a dosage, take it as soon as you recall. If the next dose is soon due, skip the missed one and carry on with your regular dosing plan. To make up for a missing dose, do not take a second one.
What side effects can this medication cause?
Side effects from omega-3 fatty acids are possible. If any of these symptoms are severe or do not go away, let your doctor know right once:
- Discomfort in the stomach
- Joints hurt
- Alteration of the sensation of taste
Other negative consequences of omega-3 fatty acids are possible. If you experience any strange issues while taking this medicine, contact your doctor right away.
You or your doctor can submit a report to the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch or by phone at 1-800-332-1088 if you have a serious side event.
What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?
Keep this medication tightly closed in the original container and out of the reach of children. Keep it at room temperature and out of the bathroom and other places with excessive heat and moisture. Avoid freezing.
Unused prescriptions must be disposed of carefully to prevent pets, kids, and other people from ingesting them. You should not, however, dispose of this medication in the toilet. Instead, utilizing a medicine take-back program is the easiest approach to get rid of your medication. To find out about take-back programs in your area, speak with your chemist or the garbage/recycling agency in your city. If you do not have access to a take-back program, see the FDA’s Safe Disposal of Medicines website at http://goo.gl/c4Rm4p for additional information.
As many containers (such as weekly pill minders and those for eye drops, creams, patches, and inhalers) are not child-resistant and are simple for young children to open, it is crucial to keep all medications out of sight and out of reach of children. Always lock safety caps and promptly stash medication up and away from young children where it is out of their sight and reach to prevent poisoning.http://www.upandaway.org
In case of emergency/overdose
Call the poison control hotline at 1-800-222-1222 in the event of an overdose. Additionally, information can be found online at https://www.poisonhelp.org/help. Call 911 right once if the person has collapsed, experienced a seizure, is having difficulty breathing, or cannot be roused.
What other information should I know?
Keep all of your appointments with your physician and the lab. To determine how your body reacts to omega-3 fatty acids, your doctor may request specific lab tests.
Inform your doctor and the lab staff that you are taking omega-3 fatty acids prior to any laboratory test.
No one else should take your medication. Any queries you may have regarding prescription refills should be directed to your chemist.
You should keep a written record of every medication you take, including any over-the-counter (OTC) items, prescription drugs, and dietary supplements like vitamins and minerals. This list should be brought with you whenever you see a doctor or are admitted to the hospital. You should always have this information with you in case of emergencies.
- Lovaza® (formerly available as Omacor®)