Epanova (omega-3 carboxylic acids) has just been approved for the treatment of very high triglycerides (≥500 mg/dL), also known as hypertriglyceridemia.
So, what are triglycerides?
Triglycerides, a type of fat found in the blood, make up one of the many components of your body’s cholesterol. Typically when the doctor has you get your blood drawn to find out your cholesterol levels it is comprised of 3 main components: LDL, HDL, and TG.
- LDL or low density lipoproteins is bad cholesterol
- HDL or high density lipoproteins is good cholesterol
- TG or triglycerides are another type of fat found in the blood
When you eat, your body converts extra calories into a stored form of energy also known as triglycerides, which are stored in fat cells.
Can my current diet affect my triglyceride levels?
Yes. High triglycerides are often attributed to a diet low in protein and high in carbohydrates. Eating more calories than you burn can lead to increased triglyceride levels.
What should my triglyceride level be?
- Normal triglyceride level = < 150 mg/dL
- Boderline high = 150-199 mg/dL
- High = 200-499 mg/dL
- Very high = ≥500 mg/dL
Epanova is only approved to treat very high triglyceride levels.
What are the common side effects of Epanova?
The common side effects of Epanova include diarrhea, nausea, stomach pain or discomfort, and burping.
Are there other treatment options for high triglyceride levels?
Yes. Other medications used to treat high triglycerides include:
It is important to make sure you talk to your doctor to find out which option may be right for you.
Lovaza is a combination of ethyl esters of omega-3 fatty acids, mainly EPA and DHA.
The first difference that will matter to you: DOSING. Epanova—depending on the dose that is right for you—can be taken in as little as 2 capsules per day. However, Lovaza must be taken as 4 capsules per day. The 4 capsules can be taken as either one dose or equally divided doses.
The second difference: COST. The ethyl ester form, Lovaza, is less expensive to produce. Ethyl esters are gaining popularity amongst drug companies for this reason. This, along with the fact that Lovaza has a generic available and Epanova is brand-only, means Epanova will be more expensive—though you may want to weigh the extra cost against fewer pills per day.
Where can I find more information on Epanova?