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What are the side effects of prescription omega-3 fatty acids?

ANSWER

They vary by type. Side effects of Epanova may include:

  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Stomach pain

Lovaza and Omtryg can cause:

  • Burping
  • Bad taste
  • Upset stomach

Vascepa can cause joint pain.

They may also make it harder for your blood to clot. Talk to your doctor if you take blood thinners like Coumadin (warfarin) or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) like aspirin and ibuprofen.

Omega-3 fatty acids lower triglyceride levels, but brands with DHA may raise levels of LDL "bad" cholesterol. This could be a problem if you also have high cholesterol, which often goes hand-in-hand with high triglycerides.

SOURCES:

Harvard School of Public Health: "Ask the Expert: Omega-3 Fatty Acids."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Omega-3 Supplements: An Introduction."

Rizos, E. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 12, 2012.

American Heart Association: "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids."

Macchia, A. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, December 2012.

FDA: "Summary of Qualified Health Claims Subject to Enforcement Discretion."

Collins, N. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2008.

Chan, Eric J. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, April 2009.

Lee, Y.-H. Archives of Medical Research, July 2012.

Bays, H. Expert Reviews, March 2008.

National Institutes of Health: "Fish Oil."

News release, Oregon State University.

Miller, M. Circulation, May 2011.

AstraZeneca.

UpToDate: Omega-3-acid ethyl esters (fish oil).

FDA: Access data: Omtryg.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 29, 2019

SOURCES:

Harvard School of Public Health: "Ask the Expert: Omega-3 Fatty Acids."

National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine: "Omega-3 Supplements: An Introduction."

Rizos, E. The Journal of the American Medical Association, Sept. 12, 2012.

American Heart Association: "Fish and Omega-3 Fatty Acids."

Macchia, A. Journal of the American College of Cardiology, December 2012.

FDA: "Summary of Qualified Health Claims Subject to Enforcement Discretion."

Collins, N. Journal of the American College of Nutrition, 2008.

Chan, Eric J. Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine, April 2009.

Lee, Y.-H. Archives of Medical Research, July 2012.

Bays, H. Expert Reviews, March 2008.

National Institutes of Health: "Fish Oil."

News release, Oregon State University.

Miller, M. Circulation, May 2011.

AstraZeneca.

UpToDate: Omega-3-acid ethyl esters (fish oil).

FDA: Access data: Omtryg.

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini on May 29, 2019

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What are the side effects of prescription omega-3 fatty acids?

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