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Journal of Clinical Lipidology
Year: 2012  |  Volume: 6  |  Issue: 6  |  Page No.: 573 - 584

A novel omega-3 free fatty acid formulation has dramatically improved bioavailability during a low-fat diet compared with omega-3-acid ethyl esters: The ECLIPSE (Epanova® compared to Lovaza® in a pharmacokinetic single-dose evaluation) study

Michael H. Davidson, Judith Johnson, Michael W. Rooney, Michael L. Kyle and Douglas F. Kling    



Omega-3 (OM-3) fatty acid products are indicated for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia; however, the omega-3-acid ethyl ester (OM-3 EE) formulations require significant pancreatic lipase stimulation with high-fat meals for adequate intestinal absorption of the metabolites eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). A novel omega-3 free fatty acid (OM-3 FFA) formulation (Epanova®, Omthera Pharmaceuticals Inc., Princeton, NJ) was developed to maximize EPA and DHA bioavailability during a low-fat diet.


To compare the relative bioavailability of EPA and DHA from single 4-gram doses of OM-3 FFA and a prescription OM-3 EE (Lovaza®, GlaxoSmithKline, Research Triangle Park, NC).


This was a randomized, open-label, single dose, 4-way crossover, bioavailability study of OM-3 FFA and OM-3 EE administered during periods of low-fat and high-fat consumption to 54 overweight adults. Bioavailability was determined by the ln-transformed area under the plasma concentration versus time curve (AUC0-t) during a 24-hour interval for EPA and DHA (baseline-adjusted).


The baseline-adjusted AUC0-t for total EPA + DHA during the low-fat period was 4.0-fold greater with OM-3 FFA compared with OM-3 EE (2650.2 vs 662.0 nmol.h/mL, respectively; P < .0001). During the high-fat period, AUC0-t for OM-3 FFA was approximately 1.3-fold greater than OM-3 EE (P < .0001). During the low-fat period, 30 of 51 (58.8%) subjects dosed with OM-3 FFA maintained an AUC0-t that was ≥50% of the respective high-fat AUC0-t in contrast to only 3 of 50 (6.0%) subjects dosed with OM-3 EE.


During a low-fat consumption period, the OM-3 FFA formulation provided dramatically improved bioavailability over the OM-3 EE formulation in overweight subjects. These findings offer a potential therapeutic advantage of the OM-3 FFA formulation for the treatment of severe hypertriglyceridemia as these patients are expected to adhere to a low-fat diet.

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