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Prescription-Strength Omega-3 Fatty Acids continued...

Medicine names:

  • Epanova (omega-3-carboxylic acids)
  • Lovaza (omega-3-acid ethyl esters)
  • Vascepa (icosapent ethyl)

You should not take prescription omega-3s if you:

  • Are allergic to fish or shellfish
  • Drink more than two glasses of alcohol each day
  • Have diabetes, liver, pancreatic, or thyroid disease

Medicines that could interact: Tell your doctor if you take meds such as:

  • Aspirin or aspirin-containing medicines
  • Blood thinners (anticoagulants) such as Coumadin (warfarin) or Plavix (clopidogrel)
  • Birth control that contains estrogen
  • Estrogen replacement therapy
  • Certain high blood pressure or heart medicines, such as beta-blockers or diuretics

When You Also Have High Cholesterol

High triglycerides and high cholesterol often go hand in hand. If you have both conditions, your doctor might also want you to take a cholesterol-lowering medicine. These meds can slightly lower triglycerides, too. There are three main groups:

  • Cholesterol absorption inhibitors: Zetia (ezetimibe)
  • Statins: Such as Crestor (rosuvastatin), Lipitor (atorvastatin), and Zocor (simvastatin)
  • Statin combination drugs: Such as Advicor (niacin extended-release and lovastatin) and Simcor (niacin extended-release and simvastatin)

What You Need From Follow-up Visits

After you get your prescription, you'll probably see your doctor every six weeks until your triglyceride levels drop. Use these check-ins to talk about any side effects you find bothersome. 

Tell your doctor if you get pregnant, are considering pregnancy, or are breastfeeding. If you are, you may need to switch medicines or stop taking certain ones.

Based on how your levels are improving, your doctor may change the dose of your meds. If you're taking fibrates or niacin, your doctor may use these follow-up visits to take blood to check your liver and kidneys.

Once you reach your goal level, you'll see your doctor every 6 to 12 months. At these follow-up visits, they’ll take blood to make sure your triglycerides are still under control. Keep these appointments -- they’re a key part of lowering your risk of heart attack and stroke.