In addition to adverse reactions reported from clinical trials, the events described below have been identified during post-approval use of omega-3-acid ethyl esters. Because these events are reported voluntarily from a population of unknown size, it is not possible to reliably estimate their frequency or to always establish a causal relationship to drug exposure.
The following events have been reported: anaphylactic reaction, hemorrhagic diathesis, urticaria.
Some trials with omega-3-acids demonstrated prolongation of bleeding time. The prolongation of bleeding time reported in these trials has not exceeded normal limits and did not produce clinically significant bleeding episodes. Clinical trials have not been done to thoroughly examine the effect of omega-3-acid ethyl esters and concomitant anticoagulants. Patients receiving treatment with omega-3-acid ethyl esters and an anticoagulant or other drug affecting coagulation (e.g., anti-platelet agents) should be monitored periodically.
The available data from published case reports and the pharmacovigilance database on the use of omega-3-acids ethyl esters in pregnant women are insufficient to identify a drug-associated risk for major birth defects, miscarriage, or adverse maternal or fetal outcomes. In animal studies, omega-3-acid ethyl esters given orally to female rats prior to mating through lactation did not have adverse effects on reproduction or development when given at doses 5 times the maximum recommended human dose (MRHD) of 4 grams/day, based on a body surface area comparison. Omega-3-acid ethyl esters given orally to rats and rabbits during organogenesis was not teratogenic at clinically relevant exposures, based on body surface area comparison (see Data).
The estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage for the indicated population is unknown. In the U.S. general population, the estimated background risk of major birth defects and miscarriage in clinically recognized pregnancies is 2% to 4% and 15% to 20%, respectively.
Animal Data: In female rats given oral doses of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (100, 600, or 2,000 mg/kg/day) beginning 2 weeks prior to mating through lactation, no adverse effects were observed at 2,000 mg/kg/day (5 times the MRHD based on body surface area [mg/m2 ]). In a dose-ranging study, female rats given oral doses of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (1,000, 3,000, or 6,000 mg/kg/day) beginning 2 weeks prior to mating through Postpartum Day 7 had decreased live births (20% reduction) and pup survival to Postnatal Day 4 (40% reduction) at or greater than 3,000 mg/kg/day in the absence of maternal toxicity at 3,000 mg/kg/day (7 times the MRHD based on body surface area [mg/m2 ]).
In pregnant rats given oral doses of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (1,000, 3,000, or 6,000 mg/kg/day) during organogenesis, no adverse effects were observed in fetuses at a maternally toxic dose (increased food consumption) of 6,000 mg/kg/day (14 times the MRHD based on body surface area [mg/m2 ]). In pregnant rats given oral doses of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (100, 600, or 2,000 mg/kg/day) from Gestation Day 14 through Lactation Day 21, no adverse effects were observed at 2,000 mg/kg/day (5 times the MRHD based on body surface area [mg/m2 ]).
In pregnant rabbits given oral doses of omega-3-acid ethyl esters (375, 750, or 1,500 mg/kg/day) during organogenesis, no adverse effects were observed in fetuses given 375 mg/kg/day (2 times the MRHD based on body surface area [mg/m2 ]). However, at higher doses, increases in fetal skeletal variations and reduced fetal growth were evident at maternally toxic doses (reduced food consumption and body weight gain) greater than or equal to 750 mg/kg/day (4 times the MRHD), and embryolethality was evident at 1,500 mg/kg/day (7 times the MRHD).
Published studies have detected omega-3 fatty acids, including EPA and DHA, in human milk. Lactating women receiving oral omega-3 fatty acids for supplementation have resulted in higher levels of omega-3 fatty acids in human milk. There are no data available on the effects of omega-3 fatty acid ethyl esters on the breastfed infant or on milk production. The developmental and health benefits of breastfeeding should be considered along with the mother’s clinical need for omega-3-acids ethyl esters and any potential adverse effects on the breastfed child from omega-3-acids ethyl esters or from the underlying maternal condition.
Safety and effectiveness in pediatric patients have not been established.
A limited number of subjects older than 65 years were enrolled in the clinical trials of omega-3-acid ethyl esters. Safety and efficacy findings in subjects older than 60 years did not appear to differ from those of subjects younger than 60 years.
Omega-3-acid ethyl esters, USP, a lipid-regulating agent, is supplied as a liquid-filled gel capsule for oral administration. Each 1-gram capsule of omega-3-acid ethyl esters contains at least 900 mg of the ethyl esters of omega-3 fatty acids sourced from fish oils. These are predominantly a combination of ethyl esters of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA — approximately 465 mg) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA — approximately 375 mg).
The empirical formula of EPA ethyl ester is C22 H34 O2 , and the molecular weight of EPA ethyl ester is 330.51. The structural formula of EPA ethyl ester is:
The empirical formula of DHA ethyl ester is C24 H36 O2 , and the molecular weight of DHA ethyl ester is 356.55. The structural formula of DHA ethyl ester is:
Omega-3-acid ethyl esters capsules USP also contain the following inactive ingredients: gelatin, glycerin and purified water. The imprinting ink contains the following: propylene glycol, shellac glaze and titanium dioxide.
The mechanism of action of omega-3-acid ethyl esters is not completely understood. Potential mechanisms of action include inhibition of acyl-CoA:1,2-diacylglycerol acyltransferase, increased mitochondrial and peroxisomal -oxidation in the liver, decreased lipogenesis in the liver, and increased plasma lipoprotein lipase activity. Omega-3-acid ethyl esters may reduce the synthesis of TG in the liver because EPA and DHA are poor substrates for the enzymes responsible for TG synthesis, and EPA and DHA inhibit esterification of other fatty acids.
In healthy volunteers and in subjects with hypertriglyceridemia, EPA and DHA were absorbed when administered as ethyl esters orally. Omega-3-acids administered as ethyl esters induced significant, dose-dependent increases in serum phospholipid EPA content, though increases in DHA content were less marked and not dose-dependent when administered as ethyl esters.
Age: Uptake of EPA and DHA into serum phospholipids in subjects treated with omega-3-acid ethyl esters was independent of age (younger than 49 years versus 49 years and older).
Male and Female Patients: Females tended to have more uptake of EPA into serum phospholipids than males. The clinical significance of this is unknown.
Pediatric Patients: Pharmacokinetics of omega-3-acid ethyl esters have not been studied.
Patients with Renal or Hepatic Impairment: omega-3-acid ethyl esters has not been studied in patients with renal or hepatic impairment.
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