Addition of omega-3 fatty acid to maintenance medication treatment for recurrent unipolar depressive disorder

Ministry of Health Mental Health Center, Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Beer-Sheva, Israel.
American Journal of Psychiatry (Impact Factor: 12.3). 04/2002; 159(3):477-9.
Source: PubMed


Studies have reported that countries with high rates of fish oil consumption have low rates of depressive disorder. The authors studied a specific omega-3 fatty acid, the ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid (E-EPA), as an adjunct to treatment for depressive episodes occurring in patients with recurrent unipolar depressive disorder who were receiving maintenance antidepressant therapy.
Twenty patients with a current diagnosis of major depressive disorder participated in a 4-week, parallel-group, double-blind addition of either placebo or E-EPA to ongoing antidepressant therapy. Seventeen of the patients were women, and three were men.
Highly significant benefits of the addition of the omega-3 fatty acid compared with placebo were found by week 3 of treatment.
It is not possible to distinguish whether E-EPA augments antidepressant action in the manner of lithium or has independent antidepressant properties of its own.

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Available from: Robert H Belmaker, Apr 24, 2014
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    • "In regards to omega - 3 fatty acids , although their supplementation has been reported to exert beneficial effects in mood disorders ( presumably due to its anti - inflammatory properties ) , a recent meta - analysis of 13 separate RCTs demonstrated no significant effect on MDD ( Nemets et al . , 2002 ; Su et al . , 2003 ; Bloch and Hannestad , 2012 ) ."
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    • "Understanding neurobiology of this disorder can help us set new targets for antidepressant therapies, because despite the effectiveness of antidepressants available, many depressed patients do not achieve the complete remission of symptoms (Rakofsky et al. 2009). In this scenario, several studies have demonstrated beneficial effects of omega-3 in the treatment of major depression (Peet and Horrobin 2002; Nemets et al. 2002, 2006; Su et al. 2003; Jazayeri et al. 2008; Mischoulon et al. 2008; Gertsik et al. 2012). One-half of the lipids present in the brain are polyunsaturated fatty acids and one-third of which are members of the omega-3 family (Bourre 2005). "
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