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Lovaza vs Vascepa – Comparison of Prescription Fish Oil Brands

Lovaza vs Vascepa


Triglycerides are a type of fat that is converted from any excess calories.

An estimated 25 percent of American adults have elevated blood triglycerides, classified as having levels over 200 mg/dL.

Evidence shows that having high blood triglycerides leads to an increased risk of heart disease.

As with LDL (bad) cholesterol, eating too much of the wrong kinds of fats (saturated and trans fats) will raise your blood triglycerides. Hence, it is essential to restrict the amounts of trans fats and saturated fats you consume.

Regular physical exercise will also help keep your heart healthy as well as your triglyceride levels within a normal range.

In addition, prescription fish oil medicines can lower your triglycerides levels.

Here is a comparison of two popular fish oil brands:


It is the brand name for a GSK product containing omega-3 fatty acids docosahexaenoic, known as DHA, and eicosapentaenoic acid, known as EPA.

Moreover, the producer (GlaxoSmithKline) states that its purification and concentration manufacturing methods are done by only the most experienced and qualified team.


It is a brand name of a prescription medicine that contains ethyl esters of the omega-3 fatty acid, eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It is produced from the oil of fish.

This medicine is not approved for use in children.


Lovaza is prescribed as an adjunct to diet in order to reduce triglyceride levels in adult suferrers with severe hypertriglyceridemia.

It may take up to 60 days before noticing the difference while taking the medicine.

Vascepa is used along with a low-fat and low-cholesterol diet to lower high levels of triglycerides in adults.

The reduction in triglycerides seen with this prescription medicine was not linked to an increased LDL cholesterol.

Mechanism of Action


It is not known exactly how this prescription medicine reduces triglyceride levels.

But, it is thought that the omega-3 fats in the medicine interfere with the liver’s capacity to convert other dietary fats into triglycerides.


It is thought to work by decreasing the amount of triglycerides made in the liver.

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Side Effects


The most common side effects associated with this prescription medication include:

  • mild skin rash;
  • back pain;
  • upset stomach;
  • unpleasant taste in the mouth.

Serious side effects may include:

  • uneven heartbeats;
  • chest pain;
  • body aches;
  • fever.


The most common side effects associated with this prescription medication include:

  • stomach fullness;
  • diarrhea;
  • passing of gas;
  • headache;
  • vomiting;
  • nausea;
  • loss of appetite;
  • difficulty having a bowel movement.

Serious side effects may include:

  • nosebleeds;
  • bleeding gums;
  • prolonged bleeding from cuts;
  • cough;
  • tarry stools;
  • coughing up blood;
  • swelling around the eyes, lips, face, or tongue;
  • increased menstrual flow;
  • skin rash;
  • a difficulty with breathing;
  • irregular heartbeat;
  • dizziness.

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The daily recommended dose is 4 grams. The daily dose may be taken as a single 4-gram dose or as two 2-gram doses.

It is also recommended not to crush or chew the tablets.


The daily recommended dose is 4 grams. Do not crush, dissolve, break, or chew the capsules before swallowing.

It is recommended to take the capsules whole.

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Warnings & Precautions


Ask a healthcare provider about using this prescription medicine if you have:

  • underactive thyroid;
  • diabetes;
  • a pancreas disorder;
  • liver disease;
  • atrial fibrillation.


The effect of this medicine on cardiovascular morbidity and mortality in people with severe hypertriglyceridemia has not been determined.

Also, hypertriglyceridemia is commonly asymptomatic as well as a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

You shouldn’t take this prescription medicine if you have ever had a severe allergic reaction to any of its active and inactive ingredients.

Also, before starting on the medicine, tell your healthcare provider if you have, or have ever had:

  • liver disease;
  • diabetes;
  • atrial fibrillation;
  • a bleeding or blood-clotting disorder;
  • pancreatic disease;
  • thyroid disease.

Drug Interactions

Both medicines may interact in a negative way with the following medications:

  • Plavix (clopidogrel) – a prescription medication used to prevent heart attack or stroke;
  • aspirin;
  • Coumadin (warfarin) –  an oral anticoagulant that is used to treat and prevent blood clots in the heart.

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Using alcohol with these prescription medicines may cause negative interactions to occur.

Discuss with your doctor about mixing these prescription medicines with alcoholic beverages.

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Is It Safe During Pregnancy or Breastfeeding?


It is not known whether this prescription medicine passes into breast milk or if it could negatively affect a breastfed baby.

Ask a healthcare professional before using this omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid if you are breastfeeding a baby.

It is not known whether this prescription medicine will harm an unborn baby. Ask a doctor before using this omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid if you are pregnant.


Tell your healthcare provider if you are pregnant before using this omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid. Also, the medicine passes into breast milk.

Therefore, don’t breastfeed an infant while using this medicine without first talking to your healthcare provider.

Lovaza vs Vascepa – Which Is The Best Fish Oil Brand?

Lovaza is a prescription medicine that consists of Omega-3 acid ethyl esters. It is a purified form of fish oil and is produced by GlaxoSmithKline.

It is actually a combination of ethyl esters of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Lovaza is used to treat high levels of triglycerides in the blood.

Vascepa is a prescription medicine whose active ingredient is icosapent ethyl, an omega-3 fatty acid that is derived from eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). It is prescribed in combination with diet adjustments and exercise to reduce triglycerides in adults. It was approved for use in the US by the Food and Drug Administration in July 2012.

Vascepa is differentiated from other omega-3-acid therapies since it has a purified eicosapentaenoic acid that delivers superior triglyceride-lowering properties without adversely affecting LDL cholesterol.

One disadvantage of these prescription medicines is the cost. For instance, a month’s supply of Lovaza costs approximately $250, while the retail cost of Vascepa can reach $300 for a one-month supply.

In conclusion, both medicines are effective in lowering high triglyceride levels, however, don’t forget that a low-fat diet is the best way to reduce high triglycerides.

Whether you choose Lovaza or Vascepat, if you take more than 3g a day of Omega-3 fatty acids from capsules, it is recommended to do so only under a healthcare professional’s supervision.

Image source – Shutterstock

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