omega-3-acid ethyl esters (Lovaza)

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GENERIC NAME: omega-3-acid ethyl esters


DRUG CLASS AND MECHANISM: Lovaza is an antilipemic or fat-regulating drug that is used in addition to diet to reduce triglyceride (TG, a fat-carrying particle in the blood) levels in adult patients with severe elevations in blood levels of TG (≥mg/dL). TG is composed of three fatty acids as well as glycerol, and like cholesterol, comes from either the diet or the liver. High levels of TG in the blood are associated with conditions such as obesity, insulin resistance, poorly controlled diabetes mellitus amongst others that contribute to the risk of atherosclerosis or hardening of the arteries (progressive build up of waxy plaque on the inside of blood vessels) which, in turn, is responsible for coronary artery disease (angina and heart attacks) and strokes.

The precise way in which Lovaza works is not clear; however, its proposed mechanism of action is by decreasing the amount of TG produced by the liver and increasing the removal of TG by the liver. Other drugs that reduce TG levels include fibric acids such as gemfibrozil (Lopid), nicotinic acids such as niacin (Nicobid, Nicolar, Slo-Niacin), and statins such as atorvastatin (Lipitor). Lovaza was FDA approved on November 10, 2004.

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