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Omega-3-carboxylic acids (Oral)

oh-MAY-ga - three - kar-BOX-il-ik AS-ids

Medically reviewed on June 7, 2018

Commonly used brand name(s)

In the U.S.

  • Epanova

Available Dosage Forms:

  • Capsule, Liquid Filled

Therapeutic Class: Antihyperlipidemic

Chemical Class: Omega-3 Fatty Acid

Uses For omega-3-carboxylic acids

Omega-3-carboxylic acids are fish-oil derived mixture of free fatty acids, that are used together with low fat and low cholesterol diet to lower high triglyceride (fat) levels.

Omega-3-carboxylic acids is available only with your doctor's prescription.

Before Using omega-3-carboxylic acids

In deciding to use a medicine, the risks of taking the medicine must be weighed against the good it will do. This is a decision you and your doctor will make. For omega-3-carboxylic acids, the following should be considered:

Allergies

Tell your doctor if you have ever had any unusual or allergic reaction to omega-3-carboxylic acids or any other medicines. Also tell your health care professional if you have any other types of allergies, such as to foods, dyes, preservatives, or animals. For non-prescription products, read the label or package ingredients carefully.

Pediatric

Appropriate studies have not been performed on the relationship of age to the effects of omega-3-carboxylic acids in the pediatric population. Safety and efficacy have not been established.

Geriatric

Appropriate studies performed to date have not demonstrated geriatric-specific problems that would limit the usefulness of omega-3-carboxylic acids in the elderly. However, elderly patients are more likely to have kidney, liver, or heart problems, which may require caution and an adjustment in the dose for patients receiving omega-3-carboxylic acids.

Breast Feeding

Studies suggest that this medication may alter milk production or composition. If an alternative to this medication is not prescribed, you should monitor the infant for side effects and adequate milk intake.

Interactions with Medicines

Although certain medicines should not be used together at all, in other cases two different medicines may be used together even if an interaction might occur. In these cases, your doctor may want to change the dose, or other precautions may be necessary. Tell your healthcare professional if you are taking any other prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicine.

Interactions with Food/Tobacco/Alcohol

Certain medicines should not be used at or around the time of eating food or eating certain types of food since interactions may occur. Using alcohol or tobacco with certain medicines may also cause interactions to occur. Discuss with your healthcare professional the use of your medicine with food, alcohol, or tobacco.

Other Medical Problems

The presence of other medical problems may affect the use of omega-3-carboxylic acids. Make sure you tell your doctor if you have any other medical problems, especially:

  • Allergy to fish or shellfish—Use with caution. May increase risk of having an allergic reaction.
  • Diabetes or
  • Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)—May increase risk for hypertriglyceridemia.
  • Liver problems—Your doctor may want to monitor you more closely for unwanted effects.

Proper Use of omega-3-carboxylic acids

Take omega-3-carboxylic acids exactly as directed by your doctor. Do not take more of it, do not take it more often, and do not take it for a longer time than your doctor ordered. To do so may increase the chance of side effects.

Omega-3-carboxylic acids should come with a patient information insert. Read and follow these instructions carefully. Ask your doctor if you have any questions.

Swallow the capsule whole. Do not crush, break, chew, or open it. If you cannot swallow the capsule whole, tell your doctor.

Take omega-3-carboxylic acids with or without food.

Dosing

The dose of omega-3-carboxylic acids will be different for different patients. Follow your doctor's orders or the directions on the label. The following information includes only the average doses of omega-3-carboxylic acids. If your dose is different, do not change it unless your doctor tells you to do so.

The amount of medicine that you take depends on the strength of the medicine. Also, the number of doses you take each day, the time allowed between doses, and the length of time you take the medicine depend on the medical problem for which you are using the medicine.

  • For oral dosage form (capsules):
    • For severe hypertriglyceridemia:
      • Adults—2 grams (2 capsules) or 4 grams (4 capsules) once a day.
      • Children—Use and dose must be determined by your doctor.

Missed Dose

If you miss a dose of omega-3-carboxylic acids, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your regular dosing schedule. Do not double doses.

Storage

Store the medicine in a closed container at room temperature, away from heat, moisture, and direct light. Keep from freezing.

Keep out of the reach of children.

Do not keep outdated medicine or medicine no longer needed.

Ask your healthcare professional how you should dispose of any medicine you do not use.

Precautions While Using omega-3-carboxylic acids

It is very important that your doctor check your progress at regular visits to make sure that omega-3-carboxylic acids is working properly. Blood tests may be needed to check for unwanted effects.

Do not take other medicines unless they have been discussed with your doctor. This includes prescription or nonprescription (over-the-counter [OTC]) medicines and herbal or vitamin supplements.

Omega-3-carboxylic acids Side Effects

Along with its needed effects, a medicine may cause some unwanted effects. Although not all of these side effects may occur, if they do occur they may need medical attention.

Check with your doctor immediately if any of the following side effects occur:

Incidence not known

  • Cough
  • difficulty swallowing
  • dizziness
  • fast heartbeat
  • hives, itching, or skin rash
  • puffiness or swelling of the eyelids or around the eyes, face, lips, or tongue
  • tightness in the chest
  • unusual tiredness or weakness

Some side effects may occur that usually do not need medical attention. These side effects may go away during treatment as your body adjusts to the medicine. Also, your health care professional may be able to tell you about ways to prevent or reduce some of these side effects. Check with your health care professional if any of the following side effects continue or are bothersome or if you have any questions about them:

More common

  • Change in taste
  • diarrhea
  • difficulty having a bowel movement (stool)
  • difficulty with moving
  • fever
  • full or bloated feeling
  • headache
  • loss of taste
  • muscle aches
  • muscle pain or stiffness
  • nausea
  • pain in the joints
  • pressure in the stomach
  • sore throat
  • stuffy or runny nose
  • swelling of the abdominal or stomach area
  • unusual tiredness or weakness
  • vomiting

Less common

  • Abdominal or stomach pain or discomfort
  • belching
  • bloated or full feeling
  • excess air or gas in the stomach

Other side effects not listed may also occur in some patients. If you notice any other effects, check with your healthcare professional.

Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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