First prescription-only fish oil therapy

THE TGA has recently approved the first prescription-only fish oil capsules for secondary prevention of myocardial infarction (MI) and in endogenous hypertriglyceridaemia.

Omacor is described as a highly purified omega-3 fatty acid and is derived from natural fish oil.  It is a schedule 4 prescription-only adjuvant treatment indicated for patients with a history of MI.

The second indication is monotherapy for hypertriglyceridaemia (type IV and V) and as an add-on treatment to statins for patients with type IIb, when triglyceride control is inadequate. 

The TGA approval is based on 79 published clinical papers, including the GISSI-Prevenzione multicentre randomised trial with 11,324 patients. It highlights how complementary medicines can be integrated successfully into the general practice setting when the evidence is there, and this has a number of implications for patients. 

Firstly, it shows the role of a supplement as