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Sunday, June 10, 2007

Omacor, Oh My Go$h

Several studies have shown the potential benefit of Omega-3 fatty acids to prevent coronary artery disease. There are three omega-3 fatty acids but only two of them are present in fish oils. I am not disputing any of the findings but, in fact, am disputing the cost of its nutraceutical form Omacor.

Nutraceuticals are marketed under the Dietary Supplement and Health Education Act of 1994 (DSHEA). They are not regulated as drugs and do not require rigid quality control standards allowing for substantial variability in potency and purity of the marketed product. That is a fact. Three cheers for government in allowing that one to get on the books! Sure, some companies guarantee potency on the bottle, but who has the time or equipment to test these anyway. I guarantee you the government has other "pet" projects to blow money on without a thought to the kava kava you got at the health food store.

Omacor is the holy grail of nutraceuticals. It got approval for an NDC (national drug code) so it can be marketed as a prescription item. This is probably how they try to justify the $180 average wholesale cost or maybe they make it "dolphin safe" by using magic nets to catch only fish (seriously people, even dolphin safe tuna has a few casualties). Frankly, after the markup on this product I pity the cash paying patient! Many insurances will not cover the cost of this one either because it is considered a vitamin supplement so it is not worthy of coverage (ie not their problem).

So here is my money saving solution. Buy an OTC omega-3 supplement and take the same dosage as Omacor. I recommend the well-reputed companies who do guarantee potency on the bottle. Sure, I made a nasty comment about potency earlier but the Better Business Bureau and various consumer watch-dog groups are all over that. I just cannot justify a patient spending almost $200 a month on the same fish oil they can purchase OTC for $30 or less a month. Hell, that savings alone could foot the bill for the other 20 prescriptions they have. Maybe not...

25 comments:

Anonymous said...

Thank you! I got into an argument with the Omacor rep about "substituting" the OTC version when cost is an issue. She actually told me I could not do that! Thank you talking head...where is your pharmacy/medical degree from? :) I love dumb drug reps! Anyway, I still recommend the OTC version...without the approval of my Omacor rep!

Anonymous said...

Based on clinical studies published in peer-reviewed, medical journals, it takes 15 to 18 dietary supplements to equal 1 daily dose of Omacor. In addition, Omacor is covered by 90% of all insurance plans in the nation. Omacor is approved by the FDA for the treatment of a specific disease state and dietary supplements are not.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous 1, I believe we have located your Omacor rep.

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

If you look at the drug monograph from Clinical Pharmacology online they list a lot of "equivalent" fish oil products to Omacor that are all available over the counter...

Anonymous said...

There is a brand called MEG-3 that is on many packages around North America. This is a very safe product and was recommended to me by my doctor. It is very affordable and available at Costco and Walmart

Anonymous said...

Sure it's covered by 90% of insurance co. for the small fee of $50!!!! I had a man come in to pick it up the other day and I told him to just go get some OTC b/c it was a lot cheaper and it works just as well.

Anonymous said...

Omacor has submitted to the FDA for 6 new indications. Can anyone give me a heads up to what they are?

Anonymous said...

Data on Omacor has been submitted to the FDA for 6 new indications. Can someone tell me what they are?

Big 'N Tasty RPH said...

I haven't seen any other info on new indications. They were probably all denied, unless they planned on utilizing its laxative properties and propensity for noxious gas...

Anonymous said...

The TG form of Omega-3 is what occurs in nature and has all of the evidence for Alzheimer's Prevention, reducing heart attach and stroke risk. This prescription form is just a way to charge out the wazoo. Who cares if it lowers triglycerides, they all do. There are other products that prove purity and have very high EPA/DHA levels. drtheos.com has one. I think it's got 800 mg of Omegas (same as Omacor) and is TG form.

paddle the little booger and send him home said...

I took OTC fish oil pills for quite a while and it was not improving my cholesterol levels.
My doctor recently put me on Omacor and the pharmacist also agreed that it is a "super fish oil pill" , I assume that means that it contains a higher dosage than the normal dosage of the average dietary supplement. Thank you Omacor rep my hero, my insurance company also agrees and is paying for my prescription. Although I am experiencing some side effects - I am burping a fishy taste all the time, it drives my wife crazy - awesome!!! I am also experiencing uneven heart beats and notice them.
I also now have an insatiable urge to smack myself on a continual basis? Is that a side effect or to I need to check myself in the psyc ward again? Just kidding, someone has to liven up these blogs!!

Anonymous said...

I'm not an OMACOR rep. I've taken fish oils for years and my triclycerides have been over 300 for most of that time. My doc put me on ONE GRAM (1/4 of the normal dose) of OMACOR and my triclycerides dropped from 335 to 250 in a month. I'm now on 4 grams. WHAT a difference. not only are the triclycerides down, my Cholesterol is in the 180s, my HDL is up, my blood sugars are NORMAL most of the time (a 20% drop across the board), and I'm losing weight without even trying. AND, my insurance pays for it, too. My copay is $100.00 every three months. The OTC stuff did not do any of this.

Anonymous said...

I went from taking Omacor (Lovazar)to Xtendlife Omega3/DHA Esters. No cost comparison here as it is laughable. My triglycerides are remaining low as they did with the Omacor. If they begin to climb, I will think about going back to the pricey Omacor.

Anonymous said...

Hi, all. I wanted to start taking omega-3 supplement. Can you tell me more about xtendlife and MEG-3, things such as what company makes them, where does the fish come from...etc. I would really appreciate it!

Anonymous said...

My triglycerides were over 300 and I could not take the usual meds to lower them. Also cholesterol was over 230. Others numbers on the lipid panel wer "off" and I honestly did not feel well at all. I began Omacor, 3x day and also took zetia 10mg day. From that my triglycerides are <150 and cholesterol is hanging around there too.
Now as of today I found out that Omacor is no longer being marketed, and my prescription has been replaced by the pharmacy by " lovaza" 1 gm. They say it's equal to or superior to Omacor. They say they can't get Omacor anymore.

mallory said...

Your Omacor is the same as Lovaza. The FDA had the name changed because it sounded too much like another drug, Amicar, a blood clotter. So it is the same exact drug, made by the same company. And for all of you naysayers, if a cheap and weak, mercury and other toxin ladened, non FDA monitored food supplement would have lowered triglycerides as much as Lovaza does, why are we all spending so much on man made drugs like Tricor ? Don't you think we would have made that discovery some time in man's history by now ? Another thing, it would be too easy for naysayers to show the rest of us the food supplements work. They have tried and found they do not work.. Omacor has been in europe for 13 years, prescribed for high triglycerides....duh!

Anonymous said...

My own history of fish oil use is with Zone Labs for the last 8 years. I am an MD and I used it for chronic angina post non-Q wave MI. It was a hugely smart move as it "cured" my angina (along with diet, excercise, etc.)at a dose of one T per day (yes, that's one T or 12 capsules per day). It was rather magical and now I run up to 45 miles a week with my Husky.
Zone labs provides 72,000 mg of EPA/DHA per bottle for about 72 bucks. I know Omacor provides more DHA (but not more EPA) but for the same quantity as the Zone bottle it wouild cost a fortune. I think I figured it out at about $350 a month retail! But do not quote me onit. And every rep uses Zone Labs as their reference to compare to. If you can get it through your insurance company for cheap I'd go for it but Zone's fish oil is the next best thing I'd say. Also fish oils are not all created equal as some pharmacists suggest, a lot of the cheaper stuff is already oxidized and some downright spoiled so many people are getting hurt thinking they are doing the right thing. There are a lot of free radicals in the oxidized material. The usery practice of charging this much for fish oil is just more solid BS from Big Pharma as expected.
CJRMD

Dan said...

Has anyone had muscle pain associated with Omacor/Lovaza? I also encountered some numbing in my fingers and had problems grasping things. My MD was puzzled and took me off to see if the pain subsided. It did. Still having a problem grasping things. I'm back on 1 a day instead of 4 and doing fine.

Anonymous said...

Hey Dan,
After reading your comment, I'd look at the other meds that you may be taking. There is no reason why a fish oil would cause those issues unless you are allergic to fish.

Anonymous said...

Dan
high doses of fish oil can act as blood thinners. When I first started on fish oil my cardiologist put me on Dr.Carlson's . I took 4 doses a day.(each dose was i think 30 cc) I became quite ill ( was a funny color and was lethargic and had a headache and felt queasy) and had to drop it back to 2 gms. the doc said it was unusual but yes fish oil has side effects.
don't let someone tell you it can't be the fish oil.If you haven't started any other meds but that then it probably is. Goggle is wonderful as a research tool.

Anonymous said...

i tried omacor was ok oother then it mad me slightly feel like i had a cold hard to explain. but that hppened to me on an otc once before too though. iam on gnc tripple strengh right now and havent noticed that feeling. and its as strong as omacor at least as far as epa wich is 647 mg to omacors 465. but omacor is 375 mg to gnc 253 for dha.anyway they both have about 900 total mg per pill. and gnc also has 5 step process to ensure purity and potecy. but it is around 20 dollars for 60 pill bottle so might be expensive if you are taking 4 grams a day. sso far iam just on 1 pill a day so to me its reasonable seems to work good for me.when i had insurace i only had 3 dollr co pay for omacor so price would not have been an issue. but now iam out of insurance so even if i could tolerate omacor i couldnt afford it now.

Anonymous said...

one web site said put your fish oil over night in the freezer id it turns cloudy then is is full of lard or soething. pure oil should remain clear it said. havent tried it yet. is that true its junk if it does?

Anonymous said...

One of the problems folk seem to have missed is that you cannot just take lots of OTC fish oils instead of just one omacor because of the impurities present. The OTC capsules have a recommended limit normally of up to 2 or 4 per day. This is because it is not as pure as omacor and contains trace elements such as mercury (present on fish) which is toxic in high amounts. If you take lots of OTC omega 3 capsules to try to get the equivalent of one Omacor you will be potentially taking in way too much heavy metals.

Dan said...

This is Dan chiming in again about the numbness and grasp issues I had. It wasn't the Lovanza/Omacor. After several test my neurologist found nerve damage from Flu Shot side effects. The nerve has regenerated with no more numbness and full grasp restored. Guess I'll never get a Flu Shot again.

I'm back on Lovanza 4 times a day, (no statin) and cholesterol well in check.

Anonymous said...

I just switched from Lovaza to Xtend Life simply because Lovaza has hydrogenated oil in it. I've spent the past 15 years keeping hydrogenated oil out of my diet (since heart bypass surgery) and it made me angry that I've been unknowingly taking it every day for the past year and a half. I really hope my labs stay good. If not, I don't know what to do next.
Anonymous