Precautions and Warnings With Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters
You should talk to your healthcare provider about the precautions and warnings with omega-3-acid ethyl esters before starting treatment to help minimize risks. People with fish allergies may also be allergic to omega-3-acid ethyl esters, since it is made from fish oil. If you have diabetes, liver disease, or hypothyroidism, be sure to let your healthcare provider know before you take this product.
What Should I Tell My Healthcare Provider Before Taking Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters?
You should talk with your healthcare provider prior to taking omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza®) if you have:
- Atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter
- An underactive thyroid (hypothyroidism)
- Kidney disease
- Liver disease
- A habit of consuming more than two glasses of alcohol daily
- Any other allergies, including allergies to food, dyes, or preservatives.
Also, let your healthcare provider know if you are:
- Pregnant or thinking of becoming pregnant
Make sure to tell your healthcare provider about all other medicines you are taking, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.
Specific Warnings and Precautions
Some warnings and precautions to be aware of with omega-3-acid ethyl esters include the following:
- People with fish allergies might be allergic to omega-3-acid ethyl esters, since it is made from fish oil. Although omega-3-acid ethyl esters is purified using a five-step refinement process, some people might still react to the drug. If you have a fish allergy, check with your healthcare provider before taking omega-3-acid ethyl esters.
- Before prescribing omega-3-acid ethyl esters, your healthcare provider should make sure you have tried to lower your triglycerides without medications. This includes making any necessary diet or exercise changes, decreasing your weight and alcohol consumption, stopping any medications that cause high triglycerides, and adequately treating any medical conditions that cause high triglycerides (such as diabetes, hypothyroidism, liver disease, or kidney disease).
- Even if you take omega-3-acid ethyl esters, it is still very important to keep up with the diet and exercise changes that your healthcare provider recommends. Omega-3-acid ethyl esters is not a substitute for a proper diet and exercise.
- Some studies suggest that omega-2-acid ethyl esters might increase the risk of atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter (two types of irregular heart rhythms) in people with a history of such problems. This medication is not approved for treating atrial fibrillation or atrial flutter.
- Your healthcare provider should check your cholesterol and triglyceride levels periodically while you take omega-3-acid ethyl esters. This is necessary to make sure that omega-3-acid ethyl esters is working and to make sure that the drug is not increasing your LDL cholesterol ("bad cholesterol"), which can sometimes happen with omega-3-acid ethyl esters.
- Omega-3-acid ethyl esters can interact with other medications (see Drug Interactions With Omega-3-Acid Ethyl Esters).
- Omega-3-acid ethyl esters is considered a pregnancy Category C medication. This means that it may not be safe for use during pregnancy, although the full risks are not known. Talk to your healthcare provider about the risks and benefits of using omega-3-acid ethyl esters during pregnancy (see Lovaza and Pregnancy for more information).
- It is not known if omega-3-acid ethyl esters passes through breast milk. Therefore, if you are breastfeeding or plan to start, be sure to talk with your healthcare provider about using omega-3-acid ethyl esters (see Lovaza and Breastfeeding for more information).