Health Guide


What is it?

EFA is an abbreviation for essential fatty acids. These fats are needed to form normal cell structure and are used in many body functions. They are considered essential because they need to be consumed in the diet.

Other names for EFA include: linoleic acid, alpha-linoleic acid, omega 3, omega 6, DHA, EPA, ALA, DGLA, GLA, and LA.

Ask your doctor, nurse, or pharmacist if you need more information about this medicine or if any information in this leaflet concerns you.

Before Using:

Tell your doctor if you

  • are taking medicine or are allergic to any medicine (prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) or dietary supplement)
  • are pregnant or plan to become pregnant while using this medicine
  • are breastfeeding
  • have any other health problems, such as high blood pressure or heart or blood vessel disease


Talk with your caregiver about how much EFA you should take. The amount depends on the strength of the medicine and the reason you are taking EFA. If you are using this medicine without instructions from your caregiver, follow the directions on the medicine bottle. Do not take more medicine or take it more often than the directions tell you to.

To store this medicine:

Keep all medicine locked up and away from children. Store medicine away from heat and direct light. Do not store your medicine in the bathroom, near the kitchen sink, or in other damp places. Heat or moisture may cause the medicine to break down and not work the way it should work. Throw away medicine that is out of date or that you do not need. Never share your medicine with others.

Drug and Food Interactions:

DHA may interact with other medicines you may be taking. Talk with your doctor, pharmacist, or nurse before taking DHA with any other medicine.


  • Before taking EFA, tell your doctor if you are pregnant or breastfeeding
  • Fish oils, a source of DHA, and EPA can be high in vitamin A and vitamin D. Taking more than 25000 IU of vitamin A per day, or 800 IU of vitamin D per day is not recommended (1)

Side Effects:

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these side effects:

  • Allergic reaction: Itching or hives, swelling in your face or hand, swelling or tingling in your mouth or throat, chest tightness, trouble breathing, or rash.

Other Side Effects:

You may have the following side effects, but this medicine may also cause other side effects. Tell your doctor if you have side effects that you think are caused by this medicine.

  • Burping, upset stomach, constipation (4)
  • Depression, dizziness, headache, trouble sleeping (4)
  • Dry mouth, trouble swallowing, unusual taste in your mouth (4)
  • Headache (4)


1. Lininger S (ed): The Natural Pharmacy. Prima Health Publishing, Rocklin, CA; 1998.

2. Werbach MR & Murray MT: Botanical influences on Illness: a sourcebook of clinical research. Third Line Press, Tarzana, CA; 1994.

3. Fetrow C & Avila J: Professional's Handbook of Complementary and Alternative Medicines. Springhouse Corporation, Springhouse, PA; 1999.

4. Product Information: Omacor(R), omega-3-acid ethyl esters. Abbott Laboratories, Abbott Park, IL, 2004.

Last Updated: 7/4/2018
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