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Generic Name: icosapent (eye KOE sa pent)
Brand Name: Vascepa

Medically reviewed by on Feb 28, 2019 – Written by Cerner Multum

What is icosapent?

Icosapent works in the liver and bloodstream to reduce very low-density triglycerides.

Icosapent is used together with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet to reduce triglycerides (fats) in adults with severely high triglycerides.

It is not known whether icosapent will lower your risk of developing heart disease or pancreatitis (inflammation of your pancreas).

Icosapent may also be used for purposes not listed in this medication guide.

Important Information

Follow all directions on your medicine label and package. Tell each of your healthcare providers about all your medical conditions, allergies, and all medicines you use.

Before taking this medicine

You should not use icosapent if you are allergic to it.

To make sure icosapent is safe for you, tell your doctor if you have:

  • liver disease;

  • diabetes;

  • a thyroid disorder;

  • problems with your pancreas;

  • a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder;

  • if you are allergic to fish or shellfish; or

  • if you drink large amounts of alcohol.

It is not known whether icosapent will harm an unborn baby. Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or plan to become pregnant.

Icosapent can pass into breast milk, but effects on the nursing baby are not known. Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding.

Icosapent is not approved for use by anyone younger than 18 years old.

How should I take icosapent?

Icosapent is usually taken 2 times per day. Follow all directions on your prescription label. Do not take this medicine in larger or smaller amounts or for longer than recommended.

Take with food.

Do not crush, chew, break, dissolve, or open an icosapent capsule. Swallow it whole.

While using icosapent, you may need frequent blood tests.

If you use icosapent 0.5-gram capsules, do not take more than 8 capsules per day. If you use 1-gram capsules, do not take more than 4 capsules per day.

Icosapent is only part of a treatment program that may also include diet, exercise, and weight control. Follow your doctor's instructions very closely.

Store at room temperature away from moisture and heat.

What happens if I miss a dose?

Take the missed dose as soon as you remember. Skip the missed dose if it is almost time for your next scheduled dose. Do not take extra medicine to make up the missed dose.

What happens if I overdose?

Seek emergency medical attention or call the Poison Help line at 1-800-222-1222.

What should I avoid while taking icosapent?

Avoid eating foods that are high in fat or cholesterol. Icosapent will not be as effective in lowering your cholesterol if you do not follow a cholesterol lowering diet plan.

Avoid drinking alcohol while you are taking icosapent.

Icosapent side effects

Get emergency medical help if you have signs of an allergic reaction: hives; difficult breathing; swelling of your face, lips, tongue, or throat.

Common side effects may include:

This is not a complete list of side effects and others may occur. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Icosapent dosing information

Usual Adult Dose for Hypertriglyceridemia:

2 g orally twice a day with food

-Patients should be placed on an appropriate lipid-lowering diet and exercise regimen before initiating therapy and should continue this diet and exercise regimen during therapy.

Use: As an adjunct to diet to reduce triglyceride (TG) levels in patients with severe (500 mg/dL or greater) hypertriglyceridemia.

What other drugs will affect icosapent?

Tell your doctor about all your current medicines and any you start or stop using, especially:

This list is not complete. Other drugs may interact with icosapent, including prescription and over-the-counter medicines, vitamins, and herbal products. Not all possible interactions are listed in this medication guide.

Further information

Remember, keep this and all other medicines out of the reach of children, never share your medicines with others, and use this medication only for the indication prescribed.

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