On June 22, Chris Bradberry, PharmD., dean of Creighton University School of Pharmacy and Health Professions discussed one of medicine’s up and coming fields: clinical lipidology. The lecture “Therapeutic Use of Fish Oil and Opportunities in Clinical Lipidology,” was part of the national pharmacy honor society, Rho Chi’s summer seminar.
Clinical Lipid Specialists (CLS) are clinicians (physicians and non-physicians) specializing in the prevention of cholesterol and other lipid disorders or related metabolic diseases, such as diabetes, which often lead to heart disease, stroke or vascular disease.
These disorders can be associated with a condition known as hypertriglyceridemia, which occurs when triglyceride levels are elevated. Triglyceride levels are associated with diabetes and an increase in weight.
The American Heart Association suggests an intake of fish oil supplements for patients with high triglyceride levels. Fish oil supplements contain a fatty acid known as omega-3 that has been shown to reduce triglycerides which is often found in obesity, diabetes mellitus, and metabolic syndrome. In taking fish oil as a supplement it is important to know that as food supplements these products are not Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved as therapy, whereas fish oils that are prescription products are FDA approved to reduce triglycerides especially when triglycerides are very high which can lead to pancreatitis.
Any more then three grams of fish oil a day should not be taken as a food supplement (non-prescription). Taking a therapeutic dose of four grams per day of the prescription fish oils for very high triglycerides is FDA approved. It is important to remember that only the prescription fish oil products are FDA approved for therapeutic use.
Individuals interested in pursuing a clinical practice in clinical lipidology should consider certification as a Clinical Lipid Specialist (CLS). This certification provides intensive education and training in clinical lipidology and prepares individuals to provide the very best in clinical care to patients with lipid disorders. Individuals interested in advancing their clinical education in lipidology and learning more about becoming a Clinical Lipid Specialist are encouraged to go to the website lipid.org for additional information.