Epanova Approved for High Triglyceride Levels

Roni Shye
Roni Shye, PharmD BCGP BCACP, is a licensed pharmacist in the states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.
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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.

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?

Epanova is only approved to treat very high triglyceride levels.

What strengths and dosage forms is Epanova available in?
Epanova is available as a 1 gram capsule.

How should I take Epanova?
Epanova is typically taken in doses of 2 grams (2 capsules) or 4 grams (4 capsules) ONCE daily with or without food.

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.

Which option is most similar to Epanova?
Lovaza is most similar to Epanova. Both are forms of omega-3 fatty acids.

How is Epanova different than Lovaza?
Epanova is the 1st FDA approved omega-3 in free fatty acid form. It is a fish oil-derived mixture of free fatty acids mainly EPA and DHA.

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.

The third difference: ABSORPTION. The fatty acid form, Epanova, is better absorbed than its counterpart, Lovaza. When we ingest fish from our diet, the fatty acid form is how it is absorbed.

Where can I find more information on Epanova?

For now, you can find more info on Epanova from the pacakage insert. You can also see our Epanova page for prices, news, and more ways to save once it’s available in pharmacies.

 

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