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omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza) Uses & Side Effects

What are omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)? What is Lovaza used for?

Lovaza is an fat-regulating (antilipemic) drug that is used in addition to diet to reduce triglyceride (TG, a fat-carrying particle in the blood) levels in adult patients with severe elevations in blood levels of TG (≥mg/dL). It is similar to Epanova (omega-3 carboxylic acid). TG is composed of three fatty acids as well as glycerol, and like cholesterol, comes from either the diet or the liver. High levels of TG in the blood are associated with conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus amongst others that contribute to the risk of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries (progressive build up of waxy plaque on the inside of blood vessels) responsible for coronary artery disease (angina and heart attacks) and strokes.

The precise way in which Lovaza works is not clear; however, its proposed mechanism of action is by decreasing the amount of TG produced by the liver and increasing the removal of TG by the liver. Other drugs that reduce TG levels include fibric acids such as gemfibrozil (Lopid), nicotinic acids such as niacin (Nicobid, Nicolar, Slo-Niacin), and statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor). Lovaza was FDA approved on November 10, 2004.

What brand names are available for omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)?

Lovaza

Is omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza) available as a generic drug?

Yes

Do I need a prescription for omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)?

Yes

What are the side effects of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)?

Upset stomach, burping, and strange tastes in may occur. If
these effects persist or worsen, patients should notify their doctor. They also
should tell their doctors immediately if any of the following rare but serious
side effects that suggest increased bleeding occur: easy bleeding from

cuts/bruising,
black/tarry
stools, vomitus that looks like coffee grounds.

What is the dosage for omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)?

The daily dose of Lovaza for reducing triglycerides is 4 grams per
day. The daily dose may be taken as a single 4 gram dose (four capsules) or as
two, 2 gram doses (two capsules given twice daily). Patients should be advised
to swallow Lovaza capsules whole. They should not break open, crush, dissolve,
or chew Lovaza capsules.

The dose of Lovaza as a dietary supplement is 1 to 2 capsules every 8 hours
with meals.

Which drugs or supplements interact with omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)?

Taking Lovaza with an anticoagulant (blood thinner)
affecting coagulation such as
aspirin,

nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs (NSAIDS) such as
ibuprofen
(Motrin), warfarin
(Coumadin), and heparin (Hep-Lock U/P) should be monitored periodically as
Lovaza may increase the risk of bleeding.

Since some drugs may increase TG levels, patients should tell their doctor or
pharmacist of the following medications before using Lovaza since their doctor
may want to change the doses of these medications or monitor their effects;
beta-blockers
such as atenolol
(Tenormin), diuretics or water pills such as

hydrochlorothiazide (Diuril), and

vitamins/supplements (fish/flaxseed/cod liver oils).

Lovaza contains ethyl esters of omega-3 fatty acids which are obtained from
the oil of several fish sources. Lovaza should therefore be used with caution in
patients with known sensitivity or
allergy to fish
and/or shellfish.

Is omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza) safe to take if I’m pregnant or breastfeeding?

There are no adequate and well-controlled studies in
pregnant women.
Lovaza should be used during pregnancy only if the potential benefit to the
patient justifies the potential risk to the fetus.

 Lovaza is excreted in
human milk
and caution should be exercised when administering Lovaza to nursing women.

What else should I know about omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)?

What preparations of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza) are available?

Capsules: 1 gm

How should I keep omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza) stored?

Lovaza should be stored at 25 C (77 F) and not frozen.

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