Prescription Fish Oil: 5 Issues to Know

Fish oilsupplements for cardiovascular (CV) protection were acontroversial subjectfor years. No longer too prolonged within the past,Vascepa(Amarin), a prescription fish oil comprising high-doseicosapentethyl, obtained anexpanded indicationfrom the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for CV risk reduction in some sufferers with elevated triglyceride (TG) ranges. Provided that no longer all fish oil merchandise — prescription or over-the-counter — are alike, here are 5 essential things to know about their enlighten.

1. Icosapent ethyl is largely among the finest prescription omega-3 accepted for CV reduction.

With itsexpanded indication, icosapent ethyl can now be aged as an adjunct to statin therapy to slice support CV occasions in sufferers with elevated TG ranges (≥150 mg/dL) and establishedatherosclerotic cardiovascular illness(ASCVD) or diabetes and as a minimum two completely differentCV risk components. This recommendation is per outcomes fromREDUCE-IT,which demonstrated a 25% diminished risk of major CV occasionsin sufferers receiving icosapent ethyl, and a 35% diminished risk reduction in members with a historical previous of ASCVD.

This concentrated eicosapentaenoic acid(EPA)-most effective prescription omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFA) used to be connected to increased rate of atrial fibrillation and bleedingin REDUCE-IT, and even though it’s famend within theprescribing filesbelow warnings and precautions, the FDA did no longer mediate these effects warranted a contraindication.

Old reviews of lower doses (1g) of blended EPA/docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) pillsdid no longer expose a low cost in outcomesin at-risk sufferers with out prior CVD,even in these with diabetes.Better doses of completely different omega-3 formulationsmay per chance per chance per chance well scale back CV occasions, nonetheless that remains to be examined in scientific reviews. The ongoingSTRENGTH trialof high-dose (4g) omega-3 carboxylic acid/EPA in sufferers who are at high CV risk with elevated TG ranges is anticipated to be performed in leisurely 2020.

Whether or no longerTG reducing aloneor additional pleiotropicanti-inflammatory, antithrombotic effectsexhibit the stage of CV risk reduction seen in REDUCE-IT is a subject of debate.

2. Even supposing the at expose accessible prescription fish oils are effective in reducing TG ranges, variations exist among merchandise with admire to system and enact.

The accessible prescription fish oils are no longer ethical fish oil merchandise, nonetheless pretty are completely different formulations of omega-3 fatty acids derived from fish oil.Five prescription omega-3 PUFAare at expose accessible within the United States, four of which may per chance per chance per chance well be accepted by the FDA to lower serum TG ranges (Table), and one among which (Vascazen, Pivotal Therapeutics) is anFDA-regulated clinical food for omega-3 deficiency in sufferers with CVD.

Table. For the time being Accessible FDA-Well-liked Omega-3 PUFA Formulations

Tag Title


EPA (g) per 1 g pill

DHA (g) per 1 g pill

Omega-3 dose (g) per 4 g


Omega-3-carboxylic acids/DHA





Omega-3 acid ethyl esters/DHA





Omega-3 acid ethyl esters/DHA





Icosapent ethyl


  1.  EPA

*Quantity per 1.2 g pill

Even supposing all of the prescription omega-3 PUFA hang identicalTG reducing effects, variations exist with admire to their effects onlow-density lipoprotein ldl cholesterol(LDL-C) andhigh-density lipoprotein ldl cholesterol(HDL-C) ranges.Learn hang proven that the DHA-containing omega-3 PUFAassemble bigger LDL-C andmay per chance per chance per chance well comparatively assemble bigger HDL-C, whereasreviews hang proven the EPA-most effective omega-3 PUFAvastly lowers serum TG ranges with out rising LDL-C in sufferers each and every on and off statin therapy, and it modestly decreases HDL-C.

3. Prescription fish oils are no longer indicated for all sufferers with elevated TG ranges.

Apart from the EPA/DHA clinical food system andthe utilization of high-dose icosapent ethyl for the reduction of CV occasions, the at expose accessible prescription fish oils are accepted by the FDA asan adjunct to dietary intervention for grownup sufferers with very high TG ranges (≥ 500 mg/dL). TheAmerican Heart Affiliation (AHA) Science Advisory on omega-3 fatty acids for the administration of hypertriglyceridemianotes that “for all degrees of triglyceride elevation, therapy or elimination of secondary causes and intensive food regimen and standard of living adjustments are urged forward of voice pharmacotherapy.”

Per their FDA-accepted indication, omega-3 PUFA merchandise are for grownup sufferers. Even supposing prescription-energy omega-3 PUFA seem likesuccessfully tolerated in pediatric sufferers, reviews to this levelhang no longer proven foremost efficacy in reducing TG ranges on this affected person population.

Since the prescription omega-3 PUFA are derived from fish sources, they’re contraindicated to be used insufferers in whom there’s a identified hypersensitivity to fish or shellfish.

Even supposing no longer a contraindication, per theFDA product mark, caution must be exercised when prescribing omega-3 PUFA to sufferers with hepatic impairment, and it’s urged that alanine aminotransferase and aspartate aminotransferase ranges be monitored because some formulations of EPA/DHA can assemble bigger serum ranges of these enzymes.

4. Over-the-counter (OTC) marine-based merchandise are no longer an alternative choice to prescription omega-3 PUFA for reducing TG ranges.

Even within the event that they would per chance wait on a supplementary feature to food regimen,OTC marine oil-based omega-3 fatty acids, equivalent to fish oil,calanus oil, andkrill oil, are neither urged nor indicated as yet any other for prescription omega-3 PUFA to lower serum TG ranges or as a therapy for any illness.

The FDA-accepted prescription omega-3 PUFA private pharmaceutical-energy doses of highly purified, regulated ranges of DHA/EPA blended, or EPA alone. OTC marine oils private remarkable lower, subtherapeutic portions of omega fatty acids (even these merchandise claiming to be double- or triple-energy), and because these merchandise are no longer reviewed, accepted, or monitored by the FDA, there are no longer any assurancesas to their quality, potency, and safety.

Furthermore, OTC marine oils private a diversity of completely different nontherapeutic formula — in some cases, ldl cholesterol, oxidized fatty acids, or contaminants. Patients taking these marine oils additionally risk exposure toincreased ranges of oxidative merchandise, and these kinds of supplements were found toprivate high ranges of saturated fat, which interfere with the purported helpful effects of these merchandise. Omega-3 PUFA supplements which were voluntarily examined to substantiate swear independently carry the US Pharmacopeial Convention symbol on the mark.

Withextra than 100 OTC marine oil-based dietary supplementsaccessible and marketed to shoppers, one expert diagnosis from the American College of Cardiology famend the temptation for some sufferersto swap from increased-stamp prescription PUFA to a less costly OTC supplement. To facilitate adherence to the prescribed marine-based oil and dissuade sufferers from switching to an OTC supplement, the authors of this diagnosis counsel physicians present files about accessible coverage assistance.

5. Prescription omega-3 PUFA may per chance per chance per chance well show stamp-effective by reducing scientific and financial burden.

With admire to stamp, thelife like retail stampfor a 30-day supply of Lovaza (4 g EPA/DHA) is $202.39; for a30-day pill supply of Vascepa the value is ready $348 to $364(or about $245 with manufacturer coupon). These costs is also offset by some deepest insurance coverage plans, Medicare, and Medicaid.

The scientific burden of excessivehypertriglyceridemiais expounded tocolossal healthcare costs. Within the US, the annualfinancial burden connected to high TG is estimated to be $10.7 billion. Old reviews suggest thatthe value of prescription omega-3 PUFA is also offset by the helpful effects, equivalent to diminished CV morbidity and mortality as successfully as a diminished risk of pancreatitis, kidney illness, and diabetes-connected occasions in sufferers with very hightriglycerides.

Extra recently, resultsfrom nonprofit analyses confirmed the value-effectiveness of icosapent ethyl as an adjunct to statin therapy. Andiagnosis of files from REDUCE-ITdemonstrated that icosapent ethyl had“greater outcomes at lower health care costs”($4.16/day for payer-eligible sufferers), making it no longer most effective stamp-effective nonetheless additionally stamp-saving compared with placebo.

Tracey L. Giannouris, MA, is a freelance clinical/scientific editor in Flemington, Fresh Jersey. She has labored on pretty just a few admire-reviewed and persevering with clinical education publications in each and every human and animal healthcare for practically two an extended time.

Notice Medscape on FacebookTwitterInstagram, and YouTube



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.