Medicine & USMLE

Fish Oil

Lipid Lowering Drugs (New)
  1. Fish Oil
  2. Statins
  3. Ezetimibe
  4. Fibrates
  5. Niacin
  6. Bile Acid Resins
  7. PCSK9 Inhibitors


Fish oil contains omega-3 fatty acids and is used as a lipid lowering drug to treat hyperlipidemia. Fish oil works by decreasing free fatty acid delivery to the liver, which decreases triglyceride synthesis in the body.
On laboratory testing, patients may experience a fall in triglyceride levels when fish oil is taken at high doses. Patients may also experience a slight rise in HDL levels and a slight rise in LDL levels. Side effects of fish oil include nausea and other symptoms of GI upset. Patients may also complain of fish oil having a fish-like taste.

Key Points

  • Fish Oil (Marine Omega-3 Fatty Acids)
    • Mechanism
      • Decreases FFA delivery to liver
      • Decreases Triglyceride Synthesis
        • Decrease activity of TG-synthesizing enzymes
    • Clinical Use
      • Lipid-Lowering Drug (Treats Hyperlipidemia)
    • Effects on Labs
      • ↓ Triglycerides at high doses
        • Typically observed when fish oil is taken at higher doses - ranging from twice to four times the amount found in most daily supplements
      • ↑ slightly LDL
      • ↑ slightly HDL
    • Side Effects
      • Nausea
      • Fish-like Taste