No more Lovaza

That’s it: I will NEVER ever write another prescription for Lovaza.

I actually very rarely write a prescription for Lovaza, i.e., prescription fish oil. But this was the last straw.

I advised a patient that we’ve had good success using high-doses of fish oil to reduce lipoprotein(a), Lp(a). 6000 mg per day of the omega-3 component (EPA + DHA) from fish oil reduces Lp(a) in 60% of people after one year. (Recall that Lp(a) is the most aggressive known lipid-related cause of heart disease.)

The two preparations I generally suggest are either the very affordable Sam’s Club Members Mark Triple-Strength Fish Oil with 900 mg EPA + DHA per capsule: 7 capsules per day. Another great product (my personal favorite because of its extreme purity–it doesn’t even smell like fish oil): Pharmax Finest Pure Fish Oil with 1800 mg EPA + DHA per teaspoon: 3 to 3 1/2 teaspoons per day.

Both preparations work great and are quite affordable, given the high dose. For the Sam’s Club preparation, it will cost around $30 per month, while the Pharmax liquid will run around $49 per month.

Well, the woman’s husband insisted on a prescription for Lovaza. One Lovaza capsule contains 784 mg EPA + DHA per capsule: 7 to 8 capsules per day.

Here are some prices for Lovaza from online pharmacy discounters:
Prescription Giant: $78.99 for 30 capsules ($2.63 per capsule)
Planet Drugs Direct: $135 for 100 capsules ($1.35 per capsule)

These are lower than the prices I obtained in past by calling local pharmacies in my area, quite a bit lower, in fact.

Filling the Lovaza prescription at Prescription Giant will therefore cost $552.93 to $631.92 per month; at Planet Drugs Direct it will cost $283.50 to $324.00 per month. At local pharmacies, a similar 7 to 9 capsules Lovaza per day will cost upwards of $800 to $900 per month.

The patient’s husband insisted on the Lovaza prescription because he knew that his insurance would cover it. When I pointed out that this was a large cost that would have to be borne by others in their healthcare premiums, he said that didn’t matter to him.

I hesitated, but ended up writing the prescription for 7 Lovaza capsules per day. As soon as I handed to him, I regretted it. In fact, I am embarassed and angry at myself for having given in.

So I vowed: I will NEVER EVER write another prescription for Lovaza.

I do not believe that we should spread the excessive profiteering of the pharmaceutical industry around on the backs of people who pay their healthcare insurance premiums, just so that a few people, like this selfish couple, can save a few dollars a month.



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45 Responses to No more Lovaza

  1. Anonymous says:

    Some people are worry on too much intake of fish oils. Indeed if you swallow standard fishoils with low levels of EPA/DHA as most US products you may swallow also a lot of saturated fats. Go for 1 softgel a day a softgel tahts provide you almost 1 g Omega-3 or a minimum as 820 mg EPA+DHA per softgel. a lot of brands having high levels of pcb's.(see http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/03/02/health/main6259938.shtml ) be also a ware when mention "per serving" could be 2 to 4 or more softels a day. Avoid liquid oils as they oxidize fast, as well I'm not in favor of codliver oils as too low on EPA and DHA and to high on vitamin A when taking 500 mg EPA/DHA.

  2. Mike OD says:

    THANK YOU!! For taking a stand where many in your profession will not. We need more of this!

  3. Metal Wall Art says:

    Even the traditional medical community is finally realizing that the omega 3s in fish oil provide some of the best natural health benefits on the planet. Worldwide, the omega 3 supplement market is in the billions of dollars. The drug companies want a piece of the action.

  4. fireplace screen says:

    Great insights about how we can have a healthy lifestyle.Omega 3 is good for the heart that's why many people are eating foods rich in Lycopene.

  5. Chris P says:

    Vitacost.com has their own brand of fish oil, NSI Mega EFA® Omega-3 EPA & DHA. At 6000mg EPA/DHA a day (10 capsules) in a 240 cap container for $22, that comes out to be $27.50 per month. And they often have 10% off sales, like right now till 10/31/10. My personal experience with them has been good, their NSI brand has been high quality, and I rarely find a better price elsewhere. I'm currently taking 6000mg EPA/DHA daily.

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