Use of omega-3 with treatment for depression in heart disease patients may not provide benefit

October 20, 2009

Contrary to the findings of some studies, new research indicates that augmenting antidepressant therapy with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement does not result in improvement in levels of depression in patients with coronary heart disease, according to a study in the October 21 issue of JAMA.

"Low and low serum or red blood cell levels of omega-3 fatty acids are associated with depression in patients with and without coronary heart disease (CHD) and with an increased risk for cardiac mortality," according to background information in the article. "In depressed psychiatric patients who are otherwise medically well, some studies have indicated that augmentation with dramatically improves the efficacy of antidepressants."

Robert M. Carney, Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, and colleagues conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled trial to examine whether omega-3 improves the efficacy of the antidepression medication sertraline for patients with CHD and . The study included 122 patients, who received 50 mg/day of sertraline and were randomized to receive 2 g/day of omega-3 acid ethyl esters (eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) (n=62) or placebo capsules (n=60) for 10 weeks. Depression was gauged via scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). Adherence to the medication regimen was at least 97 percent in both groups for both medications.

The researchers found that there was no difference in improvement between groups on the BDI-II. In both groups, estimated weekly BDI-II scores showed that depressive symptoms improved over time at comparable rates. The placebo and omega-3 groups did not differ at 10 weeks in regard to measurements of depression or anxiety. There was no significant difference in rates of remission or treatment response between the two groups.

"Whether higher doses of EPA, DHA, or sertraline, a longer duration of treatment, or the use of omega-3 as monotherapy can improve in patients with stable heart disease remains to be determined," the authors conclude.

More information: JAMA. 2009;302[15]:1651-1657.

Source: JAMA and Archives Journals (news : web)

Explore further: Altering Fatty Acid Levels in Diet May Reduce Prostate Cancer Growth Rate

Related Stories

Findings may explain why omega-3s seem to improve mood

March 7, 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids, found in fatty fish like salmon, are associated with increased grey matter volume in areas of the brain commonly linked to mood and behavior according to a University of Pittsburgh study.

Omega-3 supplements affect Alzheimer's symptoms

June 21, 2007

Omega-3 supplements can, in certain cases, help combat the depression and agitation symptoms associated with Alzheimer’s disease, according to a clinical study conducted at the Swedish medical university Karolinska Institutet.

Omega-3 fatty acids protect against Parkinson's, study says

November 26, 2007

Omega-3 fatty acids protect the brain against Parkinson’s disease, according to a study by Université Laval researchers published in the online edition of the FASEB Journal, the journal of the Federation of American Societies ...

Omega-3s ease depressive symptoms related to menopause

January 28, 2009

Omega-3s ease psychological distress and depressive symptoms often suffered by menopausal and perimenopausal women, according to researchers at Université Laval's Faculty of Medicine. Their study, published in the ...

Recommended for you

Machine Translates Thoughts into Speech in Real Time

December 21, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- By implanting an electrode into the brain of a person with locked-in syndrome, scientists have demonstrated how to wirelessly transmit neural signals to a speech synthesizer. The "thought-to-speech" process ...

Quantum Theory May Explain Wishful Thinking

April 14, 2009

(PhysOrg.com) -- Humans don’t always make the most rational decisions. As studies have shown, even when logic and reasoning point in one direction, sometimes we chose the opposite route, motivated by personal bias or simply ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
not rated yet Oct 20, 2009
The problem may not be with the omega-3s but with sertraline as an antidepressant. Other antidepressants should be be tried w/ omega-3s before jumping to any conclusions.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.