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The Difference Between Prescription Lovaza Fish Oil and Over the Counter Fish Oil Supplements

Question:
Lovaza, a prescription omega-3 fish oil, is very expensive. Can I get the same omega-3 oils from a supplement that costs less?

Answer:
Yes, you can get a similar amount of omega-3 fish oils from supplements as you can get from Lovaza. Lovaza provides 840 mg of EPA and DHA in about one gram of fish oil per capsule, of which approximately 465 mg is EPA and 375 mg is DHA. The suggested dose is 4 capsules daily. Many supplements can provide roughly the same amounts of EPA and DHA. This is discussed in our Product Review of Fish Oil Supplements -- which also discusses other prescription fish oils, such as Epanova and VASCEPA.

To keep down the number of capsules (and oil) you need to take, Lovaza uses an extremely high concentration (about 84%) of EPA and DHA.  If you want to achieve the same convenience, look for fish oils with "extremely high" concentrations. You'll find this information in the second column of our Results table, which shows you the concentration of EPA and DHA in each fish oil supplement. You'll also see our quality rating of each product and cost comparisons.

If you don't like capsules, there are liquids which can be taken by spoon -- several are included in the table. The taste of fish oil (that's not spoiled) is generally quite mild.

Saving Money on Lovaza:

If you want to stay with a prescription product like Lovaza but are looking to save money, first be aware that an FDA-approved generic version containing approximately the same amounts of EPA and DHA in the same chemical form as in Lovaza is available at somewhat lower cost, as discussed in our Product Review of Fish Oil Supplements. By comparison shopping across pharmacies and asking about discounts and coupons, you may be able to get the generic for under $60 for 120 capsules. Lovaza is also sold in other countries under the name Omacor, and the generic is also available in other countries. Prices are often lower outside the U.S. You can check ConsumerLab.com's sister website, PharmacyChecker.com, for prices from online licensed pharmacies in Canada and other countries. Purchasing prescription medication like Lovaza from outside the U.S. remains technically illegal, but the U.S. government has not prosecuted individuals for doing this for themselves.



Learn more about prescription fish oil Lovaza:



How does the new prescription fish oil Epanova compare to Lovaza --and fish oil supplements? >>

Are there any serious side effects with Lovaza or Epanova (prescription fish oil)? If so, would these also apply to generic versions of these drugs and to fish oil supplements? >>

See other recent and popular questions >>
COMMENTS

riccardo11596   January 12, 2017
about oxidation levels, are omega3 as powder less prone to oxidation as their producers claim (e.g.http://www.bestpharma.pl/en/Products/Marine/Omega3)?

ConsumerLab.com   January 16, 2017
Hi Riccardo - We have not been able to find any research comparing oxidation of omega-3 powders with oxidation in oils.

richard11229   August 31, 2016
Found out recently, that fish oil from: anchovies, sardines, herring, mackerel, and scallops "may increase your risk of gout." I found out the hard way.

ConsumerLab.com   September 8, 2016
Hi Richard - Thank you for sharing your experience. We've now added a CL Answer about this issue: https://www.consumerlab.com/answers/_/fish-oil-gout/

Harise11220   August 31, 2016
a few years back, my husband was prescribed Lovaza for an extreme triglyceride situation (it resulted in an attack of acute pancreatitis). Lovaza brought the levels down, but we switched insurance companies at one point and Lovaza was not covered. I found at Puritans Pride, a high potency fish oil, with 625mg EPA and 244mg DHA, per capsule, which seemed to keep his levels good, as well as cholesterol meds that he takes. The product is called Omega-3 Fish Oil 1360mg. It says Triple Strength, the item number is 16105. I notice that almost all fish oil supplements claim high potency but this was the only one I found that was similar to Lovaza. He takes one capsule twice daily.

Ryan11215   August 31, 2016
I like now ultra omega 3 fish oil for the ratio of epa to dha and vitamin E to prevent oxidation. My other go to brand is Carlson elite omega 3, more dha if that is what you want, also has vitamin E. Both are very potent.

Diana11211   August 30, 2016
I started OTC fish oil in 2008 at the suggestion of a cardiologist to treat my persistent irregular heart beats (mostly PVCs). It corrected the problem in about two months and I have taken fish oil religiously ever since. I currently buy Nature's Bounty Maximum Strength 1400 mgs. at Costco (130 count). The label states that one capsule contains 647 mgs. EPA and 253 mgs. DHA. Although I cannot offhand remember the price, Costco frequently offers discounts for it in their circulars, such as $5 off a bottle. I take one daily and store the opened bottle in the refrigerator. I have no connection to Nature's Bounty or any supplement company.

Joseph11202   August 28, 2016
In Nashville, TN, our costco's price on even the sub for Lovaza has sky rocketed with our insurance from $14 to $600 recently for the 1 gram dosage with 120 capsules. So, yes, definitely keep over the counter options open for buying.. Hopefully this price hike will be resolved asap.


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This CL Answer initially posted on 5/15/2012. Last updated 8/8/2017.
ConsumerLab.com members may submit questions to CLAnswers@ConsumerLab.com. We read all questions and try to answer those of popular interest.

 
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