Icosapent Ethyl

Icosapent ethyl treats extremely high triglyceride levels. This highly refined fish oil contains a single Omega-3 fatty acid, EPA. It lowers triglycerides without increasing LDL ("bad") cholesterol.

Icosapent Ethyl Overview

Reviewed: February 14, 2014

Icosapent ethyl is a prescription medication used along with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet to treat high triglyceride levels. Icosapent ethyl contains ethyl esters of the omega-3 fatty acid obtained from fish oil. Although the exact way icosapent ethyl works is still unknown, it is believed to work by lowering the amount of triglycerides that are made in the liver, and by increasing the amount of triglycerides that are broken down in the blood stream.

This medication comes in capsule form and is taken twice daily, with food.

The most common side effect of icosapent ethyl is joint pain.

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Uses of Icosapent Ethyl

Icosapent ethyl is a prescription medicine used to lower very high levels of triglycerides (TG) in adults. Icosapent ethyl is used along with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet.

This medication may be prescribed for other uses. Ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

Icosapent Ethyl Brand Names

Icosapent Ethyl may be found in some form under the following brand names:

Icosapent Ethyl Drug Class

Icosapent Ethyl is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Icosapent Ethyl

The most common side effect is joint pain.

This is not a complete list of icosapent ethyl side effects. For more information, ask your doctor or pharmacist.

Tell your doctor about any side effect that is bothersome or doesn't go away. You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088.

Icosapent Ethyl Interactions

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and herbal supplements.

Especially tell your doctor if you take medicines that affect your blood clotting (anticoagulants or blood thinners). 

Some published studies with omega-3 fatty acids have demonstrated prolongation of bleeding time. The prolongation of bleeding time reported in those studies has not exceeded normal limits and did not produce clinically significant bleeding episodes. Patients receiving treatment with icosapent ethyl and other drugs affecting coagulation (e.g., anti-platelet agents) should be monitored periodically.

Know the medicines you take. Keep a list of them to show your doctor and pharmacist when you get a new medicine.

Icosapent Ethyl Precautions

Do not take this medicaiton if you are allergic to icosapent ethyl or any other ingredients in it.

If you have liver problems and are taking icosapent ethyl, your doctor should do blood tests during treatment.

Icosapent Ethyl Food Interactions

Medicines can interact with certain foods. In some cases, this may be harmful and your doctor may advise you to avoid certain foods. In the case of icosapent ethyl there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving icosapent ethyl.

Inform MD

Before receiving this medication, tell your doctor if you:

  • have diabetes
  • have a low thyroid problem (hypothyroidism)
  • have liver disease
  • have a pancreas problem
  • are allergic to fish or shellfish. It is not known if people who are allergic to fish or shellfish are also allergic to icosapent ethyl.

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding.

Tell your doctor about all the medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins, and dietary or herbal supplements.

Icosapent Ethyl and Pregnancy

Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, or planning to become pregnant. It is not known if icosapent ethyl will harm your unborn baby.

Icosapent Ethyl and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. This medication can pass into your milk, and may harm your baby. Talk to your doctor about the best way to feed your baby if you take icosapent ethyl.

Icosapent Ethyl Usage

  • Take icosapent ethyl exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking icosapent ethyl without talking to your doctor.
  • You should not take more than 4 capsules of icosapent ethyl each day. Do not take more capsules than what is prescribed by your doctor.
  • Take icosapent ethyl capsules whole. Do not break, crush, dissolve, or chew icosapent ethyl capsules before swallowing.
  • If you miss a dose of icosapent ethyl, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose. If you miss one day of icosapent ethyl, do not double your dose when you take it.
  • Follow your doctor's recommendations for a diet that is low in saturated fat, cholesterol, carbohydrates, added sugars. Your doctor may recommend you start this diet before giving you icosapent ethyl. Stay on this diet while taking icosapent ethyl. Your healthcare provider may also recommend that you limit alcohol consumption to help lower your triglycerides.
  • Your doctor may do blood tests to check your triglyceride and other lipid levels while you take icosapent ethyl.

Icosapent Ethyl Dosage

The recommended daily dose of icosapent ethyl is 4 grams per day taken as 2 capsules twice daily with food.

Icosapent Ethyl Overdose

If you take too much of this medication, call your healthcare provider or local poison control center, or seek emergency medical attention right away.

Other Requirements

  • Store icosapent ethyl at room temperature between 68° to 77°F (20° to 25°C).
  • Safely throw away medicine that is out of date or no longer needed.

Keep icosapent ethyl and all medicine out of the reach of children.