Thursday, May 15, 2008

Lovaza

"And I'll need a script for Lovaza..."

Dang, one of those humbling moments. What on earth is Lovaza? Should I just ask or should I excuse myself for a moment on the pretext that I need a new prescription pad, then look it up quickly in the PDR? Well, by hook or by book, I found out what it was.

Lovaza is Omacor. Omacor, by any name, is a high potency omega-3 fatty acid supplement, but that particular name was entirely too similar to Amicar, a drug used to prevent or treat serious bleeding in hemophiliacs. Not that anyone would have trouble reading my writing, but if they should, that's a heckuva mistake to make.

I always ask my patients about the supplements they take during their annual exams. As a result, I know that most everyone is on to the fish oil fad instead of the previously top popular vites C & E. Research suggests that use of these oils can prevent sudden cardiac death(1), decrease risk of Alzheimer's disease(2), improve the mood(3), and lower triglycerides.

So why pay for fancy prescription strength Lovaza when you could do a 3 for 1 deal at Puritan.com(current sale price)? The two products have similar EPA and DHA content--one capsule of either the OTC or rx variety has roughly 1,000 mg of these worthy fatty acids which is the recommended dose for persons already diagnosed with coronary artery disease. Patients with elevated triglycerides (blood fats) should consider a daily dose of 4,000 mg.
_____
(1)Is it death or tuna casserole deficiency?
(2)Be the right sort of fat head
(3)Fishing for a good mood

14 comments:

"his-self" said...

Lovaza...isn't that the guy that starred in The Student Prince and all those other 1950's musicals???

Mario Lovaza???

kenju said...

Mr. kenju was taking four Lovaza per day and we noticed a peculiar smell emanating from him, particularly his head. He didn't smell fishy, but it was sort of like an old cooking pot that was used with oil a lot and not washed well. Stale, I guess you would say. He quit the Lovaza (after talking to his doc) and the smell has gone away.

Femail doc said...

HS: Mario Lanza (per Google--I had no idea!) Got a good laugh from that possibility.

KJ: Sorry, had a good laugh at this one as well.

Ruth said...

I like the format of your FemailNews. I will eat the fish and skip the capsules, thanks.

Wendy said...

Lovaza? I thought it was a new type of Viagra? (or something along those lines).

Anonymous said...

The only benefit of the Lovasa over the OTC is that you can be reasonably sure the Omega 3 doesn't come with a healthy side of mercury. The OTCs, which after all are nutritional supplements and regulated (pretty loosely) as such, maybe not so much.

Femail doc said...

Ruth, judging from your recipe blog, you eat pretty well. For all the rest of us, there's supplements.

Wendy, the names of drugs make me laugh. How much, do you suppose, they pay someone to think them up.

Anon, I thought the mercury was in the water soluble portion of the fish and that the oils were mercury free. Not true?

Dreaming again said...

I couldn't figure out what to fix for dinner ... I've got salmon in the freezer .. I know what's for dinner tonight! thanks! *grin*

alina said...

Thanks for the Omega-3 advice! I actually just wrote an entry about Lovaza which brought me to your blog - I take Lovaza and I love it, I have none of the side effects (like fishy burps) like with non-prescription and I actually feel really good about it being FDA approved and purified from mercury. But it's still great to hear an countering opinion from a dr. Thanks!

Ricki said...

What about Lovaza cancer treatment? A doctor told me I shouldn't take any fish oil stuff during radiation therapy.

femail doc said...

Alina and others: With respect to mercury, ConsumerLab tested 50 over-the-counter products and found mercury in none. 48 met their quality standards; of the two that didn't, one had a defective enteric coating, the other was for dogs and did not contain the amounts of alpha linoleic acid stated on the label.

Ricki: I was unable to find any warnings on the ConsumerLab site with respect to use during radiation therapy. They did mention, however, that "high doses (over 3 grams per day) of fish oil may suppress the immune system. Unless medically necessary, such doses should be avoided, particularly by immunocompromised individuals." Best wishes for an easy course of treatment!

Anonymous said...

I too take lovaza for high triglycerides and recently sat on a survey panel giving my opinion of the medication. We were told the difference between the Rx and the OTC was that lovaza is the purest form of Omega 3 you can get. So I would opt for lovaza if you can get it. I currently am having no side effects and it is lowering my triglycerides.

Anonymous said...

Hi there, I was recently prescribed Lovaza and I'm interested in finding out what the differences are exactly in Lovaza and regular OTC Omega 3 Fish oil?
The Lovaza = "omega-3-acid ethyl esters". What on earth is ethyl esters? and are these same ingredients in the regular OTC Omega 3? Also, are the same side effects associated with OTC as are associated with Lovaza? Hope someone can answer. Thanks so much.

Anonymous said...

I was prescribed Lovaza a few years ago and I think it works well, that was until I had to pay cash for my meds....120 caps of Lovaza is 195.00....I almost fainted!.....Is there another cheaper way than Lovaza.....Thanks Marie