Omega-3 fatty acids as adjunctive therapy for depression.
Article Type: Brief article
Subject: Depression, Mental (Care and treatment)
Omega-3 fatty acids (Health aspects)
Author: Gaby, Alan R.
Pub Date: 08/01/2012
Publication: Name: Townsend Letter Publisher: The Townsend Letter Group Audience: General; Professional Format: Magazine/Journal Subject: Health Copyright: COPYRIGHT 2012 The Townsend Letter Group ISSN: 1940-5464
Issue: Date: August-Sept, 2012 Source Issue: 349-350
Geographic: Geographic Scope: United States Geographic Code: 1USA United States
Accession Number: 303012891
Full Text: Forty-two patients (mean age, 40.5 years) with major depressive disorder, whose diet contained no more than 3 g per day of total omega-3 fatty acids, received 20 mg per day of citalopram (a selective serotonin-reuptake inhibitor) and were randomly assigned to receive omega-3 fatty acids (1.8 g per day of eicosapentaenoic acid and 0.4 g per day of docosahexaenoic acid, in 2 divided doses per day) or placebo (olive oil) for 8 weeks. After the first 4 weeks, the dosage of citalopram could be increased to 40 mg per day if clinically appropriate. The proportion of patients who achieved full remission (Hamilton Depression Rating Scale score < 7) was greater in the active-treatment group than in the placebo group (44% vs. 18%). The proportion of patients who did not improve was lower in the active-treatment group than in the placebo group (11 % vs. 50%; p<0.02 for the overall treatment effect, active vs. placebo). A significant difference between treatments was evident after 4 weeks, but not after 2 weeks. At 4 weeks, nonsignificantly more patients in the active treatment group than in the placebo group increased the dosage of citalopram (61% vs. 50%; p=0.5).

Comment: Some studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids are beneficial in the treatment of depression, but other trials have shown little or no effect. The results of the present study indicate the combination of citalopram and omega-3 fatty acids is significantly more effective than citalopram alone in the treatment of major depressive disorder.

Gertsik L et al. Omega-3 fatty acid augmentation of citalopram treatment for patients with major depressive disorder. J Clin Psychopharmacol. Epub 2011 Dec 22.

by Alan R. Gaby, MD

drgaby@earthlink.net
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