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Prescription Lovaza vs. Omega-3 Fish Oil Supplements for Immune System Health

Updated on April 7, 2011

Lovaza is a purer and more concentrated version of over-the-counter omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids.Omegs-3 supplements and supplements of fish oil that are sold readily in health food stores and the nutrition aisle of many pharmacies is more affordable and does not require a prescription, but there are drawbacks concerning its effectiveness in treating severe inflammation in people with chronic conditions and autoimmune diseases. Both prescription Lovaza and Omega-3 supplements can be used to treat inflammation associated with immune conditions, but prescription Lovaza should only be used in severe cases.

However, many people now being prescribed Lovaza are wondering about the cost effectiveness of just using over-the-counter Omega-3 supplements instead of paying the high price to fil a prescription for the brand name drug. Lovaza is also commonly prescribed for treating high triglycerides in patients with high cholesterol and other heart conditions. Each capsule of Lovaza is 1000mg, and contains roughly 465 mg of EPA and 375 mg of DHA. This is the American Heart Association recommended dose for effectively treating high triglycerides.

Fish oil contains the most concentrated levels of Omega-3 fatty acids than any other related supplement. Fish oil can be purchased in 1000mg doses, but the concentrations of EPA and DHA in each dosage may be substantially lower. For this reason, the cost-effectiveness of buying over-the-counter supplements instead of paying the full price for the prescription may not be worth it. This is because more of the supplement is needed in order to equal the same strength of Omega-3s that are in each dose of Lovaza.

Lovaza is the prescription drug made by GlaxoSmithKline. It has been approved for use in the U.S.A. by the FDA. It is considered a biopharmaceutical product because it is made from all-natural ingredients. The makers of Lovaza developed a patented process for extracting Omega-3s from fish oil in a more concentrated manner. This ensures that patients are receiving only the purest form of Omega-3s. 

One of the best reasons to take Lovaza over dietary supplements is that it is a regulated prescription drug. Dietary supplements are not regulated for safety, which means that consumers may not always know what they are getting. Although side effects from fish oil are rare, they can occur with both prescription Lovaza and over-the-counter supplements. People who are allergic to certain types of fish should not take Lovaza or fish oil supplements. Rare side effects include back pain. Muscle aches, tiredness, changes in taste, or upset stomach. Signs of an allergic reaction include hives, itching, difficulty breathing, irregular heartbeat, tightness in the chest, and severe stomach pain. 

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