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Icosapent Ethyl

pronounced as(eye koe' sa pent eth il)

Why is this medication prescribed?

Icosapent ethyl is used together with lifestyle changes (diet, weight loss, exercise) to reduce the amount of triglycerides (a fat-like substance) in your blood. Icosapent ethyl is in a class of medications called antilipemic or lipid-regulating agents. Icosapent ethyl may work by decreasing the amount of triglycerides and other fats made in the liver.

How should this medicine be used?

Icosapent ethyl comes as a liquid-filled gel capsule to take by mouth. It is usually taken with food two times a day. Take icosapent ethyl at around the same times every day. Follow the directions on your prescription label carefully, and ask your doctor or pharmacist to explain any part you do not understand. Take icosapent ethyl exactly as directed. Do not take more or less of it or take it more often than prescribed by your doctor.

Swallow the capsules whole; do not split, chew, crush, or dissolve them.

Ask your pharmacist or doctor for a copy of the manufacturer's information for the patient.

Other uses for this medicine

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This medication may be prescribed for other uses; ask your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

What special precautions should I follow?

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Before taking icosapent ethyl,

  • tell your doctor and pharmacist if you are allergic to icosapent ethyl; fish, including shellfish (clams, scallops, shrimp, lobster, crayfish, crab, oyster, mussels, others); any other medications; or any of the ingredients in icosapent ethyl capsules. Ask your pharmacist or check the patient information for a list of the ingredients.
  • tell your doctor and pharmacist what other prescription and nonprescription medications, vitamins, nutritional supplements, and herbal products you are taking or plan to take. Be sure to mention any of the following: anticoagulants ('blood thinners') such as warfarin (Coumadin, Jantoven); antiplatelet medications such as cilostazol (Pletal), clopidrogrel (Plavix), dipyridamole (Persantine, in Aggrenox), prasugrel (Effient), and ticlopidine (Ticlid); aspirin or aspirin-containing products; beta-blockers such as atenolol (Tenormin), labetalol (Normodyne), metoprolol (Lopressor, Toprol XL), nadolol (Corgard), and propranolol (Inderal); diuretics ('water pills'); estrogen-containing contraceptives (birth control pills, patches, rings, and injections); or estrogen replacement therapy. Your doctor may need to change the doses of your medications or monitor you carefully for side effects.
  • tell your doctor if you have or have ever had diabetes or liver, thyroid, or pancreatic disease.
  • tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan to become pregnant, or are breast-feeding. If you become pregnant while taking icosapent ethyl, call your doctor.
  • ask your doctor about the use of alcoholic beverages while you are taking icosapent ethyl. Drinking even small amounts of alcohol can affect the triglyceride levels in your body.

What special dietary instructions should I follow?

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Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet. Be sure to follow all exercise and dietary recommendations made by your doctor or dietitian. You can also visit the National Cholesterol Education Program (NCEP) website for additional dietary information at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/chol/chol_tlc.pdf.

What should I do if I forget a dose?

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Take the missed dose as soon as you remember it. However, if you miss 1 day of icosapent ethyl, continue your regular dosing schedule. Do not take a double dose to make up for a dose missed on the previous day. You should not take more than four icosapent ethyl capsules in 1 day.

What side effects can this medication cause?

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Icosapent ethyl may cause side effects. Tell your doctor if this symptom is severe or does not go away:

  • joint pain

Icosapent ethyl may cause other side effects. Call your doctor if you have any unusual problems while taking this medication.

If you experience a serious side effect, you or your doctor may send a report to the Food and Drug Administration's (FDA) MedWatch Adverse Event Reporting program online [at http://www.fda.gov/Safety/MedWatch] or by phone [1-800-332-1088].

What should I know about storage and disposal of this medication?

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Keep this medication in the container it came in, tightly closed, and out of reach of children. Store it at room temperature and away from excess heat and moisture (not in the bathroom). Throw away any medication that is outdated or no longer needed. Talk to your pharmacist about the proper disposal of your medication.

In case of emergency/overdose

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In case of overdose, call your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222. If the victim has collapsed or is not breathing, call local emergency services at 911.

What other information should I know?

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Keep all appointments with your doctor and the laboratory. Your doctor may order certain lab tests to check your body's response to icosapent ethyl.

Do not let anyone else take your medication. Ask your pharmacist any questions you have about refilling your prescription.

It is important for you to keep a written list of all of the prescription and nonprescription (over-the-counter) medicines you are taking, as well as any products such as vitamins, minerals, or other dietary supplements. You should bring this list with you each time you visit a doctor or if you are admitted to a hospital. It is also important information to carry with you in case of emergencies.

Brand names

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  • Vascepa®

Last Revised - 06/15/2013

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AHFS® Consumer Medication Information. © Copyright, 2014. The American Society of Health-System Pharmacists, Inc., 7272 Wisconsin Avenue, Bethesda, Maryland. All Rights Reserved. Duplication for commercial use must be authorized by ASHP.