Vascepa

Vascepa 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.

Vascepa Overview

Reviewed: January 11, 2013
Updated: 

Vascepa is a prescription medication used along with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet to treat high triglyceride levels. Vascepa contains ethyl esters of the omega-3 fatty acid obtained from fish oil. Although the exact way Vascepa 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 Vascepa is joint pain.

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Uses of Vascepa

Vascepa is a prescription medicine used to lower very high levels of triglycerides (TG) in adults. Vascepa 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.

Manufacturer

Vascepa Drug Class

Vascepa is part of the drug class:

Side Effects of Vascepa

The most common side effect of Vascepa is joint pain.

This is not a complete list of Vascepa 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.

Vascepa 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 Vascepa 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.

Vascepa Precautions

Do not take Vascepa if you are allergic to icosapent ethyl or any of the ingredients in Vascepa.

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

Vascepa 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 Vascepa there are no specific foods that you must exclude from your diet when receiving Vascepa.

Inform MD

Before receiving Vascepa, 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 Vascepa.

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.

Vascepa and Pregnancy

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

Vascepa and Lactation

Tell your doctor if you are breastfeeding or plan to breastfeed. Vascepa 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 Vascepa.

Vascepa Usage

  • Take Vascepa exactly as prescribed by your doctor. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully.
  • Do not change your dose or stop taking Vascepa without talking to your doctor.
  • You should not take more than 4 capsules of Vascepa each day. Do not take more capsules than what is prescribed by your doctor.
  • Take Vascepa capsules whole. Do not break, crush, dissolve, or chew Vascepa capsules before swallowing.
  • If you miss a dose of Vascepa, take it as soon as you remember, unless it is almost time for your next dose. If you miss one day of Vascepa, 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 Vascepa. Stay on this diet while taking Vascepa. 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 Vascepa.

Vascepa Dosage

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

Vascepa 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 Vascepa 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 Vascepa and all medicine out of the reach of children.