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Can Vascepa help with weight loss?

Medically reviewed by Carmen Pope, BPharm. Last updated on Oct 3, 2022.

Official answer


There are no documented reports that Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) helps with weight loss. Anecdotally, some blogs report weight loss with Vascepa, but this tends to correlate with the person experiencing excessive diarrhea or gastrointestinal discomfort as a side effect, which can be intolerable in some people, forcing discontinuation of Vascepa. Weight loss can also occur due to diet modification (Vascepa should be taken alongside a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet) and increased physical activity.

Vascepa is a prescription omega-3 fatty acid that lowers triglyceride levels and is prescribed alongside diet modification and lifestyle changes to people with high triglycerides. It may be prescribed with other lipid-lowering medications, such as statins.

How does Vascepa work?

Vascepa is thought to work by reducing the production of triglycerides by the liver and enhancing their clearance from lipid particles, via a number of different mechanisms. This decreases triglyceride levels in the body.

If Vascepa is taken alongside a Mediterranean-style, low-carbohydrate diet that reduces body weight by 5% to 10% and contains no trans fats in addition to a regular exercise regimen, then triglyceride levels are expected to reduce by up to 50%.

Vascepa only contains eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), whereas most other fish oils (including prescription fish oils) contain both EPA and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). By only containing EPA, Vascepa reduces high triglycerides without raising levels of “bad” cholesterol or LDL-C.

What is the best way to lower triglyceride levels?

To lower triglyceride levels:

  • Lose weight if you are overweight or obese. Dropping just 5% to 10% of your body weight can help drive your triglycerides down to a normal range
  • Maintain that weight loss or improve on it. Keep to a low-fat, low carbohydrate diet, such as the Mediterranean diet
  • Move every day. Physical activity and regular exercise lowers triglycerides
  • Choose your carbohydrates wisely. Avoid white bread, white rice, chips, and sugar-laden foods and drinks. Replace these instead with vegetables and whole grains.
  • Cut back on meat, milk, and other dairy products that contain saturated fats, which can elevate triglycerides. Unsaturated fats and oils from plants and fish bring down triglycerides.
  • Reduce your alcohol intake. Alcohol increases triglycerides so avoid excessive drinking and have several alcohol-free days per week
  • Talk to your doctor about medications to lower triglycerides and other types of cholesterol, such as Vascepa, fibrates, and/or statins.

  • The lesser-known fat in your blood. Published: July 2014 Harvard health Publishing
  • Vascepa (icosapent ethyl) 07/2020 Amarin Pharma Inc.

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