Article

A Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial of Omega-3 Fatty Acids in Tourette's Disorder

NYU Child Study Center, NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.
PEDIATRICS (Impact Factor: 5.3). 05/2012; 129(6):e1493-500. DOI: 10.1542/peds.2011-3384
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT Clinical observations have suggested therapeutic effects for ω-3 fatty acids (O3FA) in Tourette's disorder (TD), but no randomized, controlled trials have been reported. In a placebo-controlled trial, we examined the efficacy of O3FA in children and adolescents with TD.
Thirty-three children and adolescents (ages 6-18) with TD were randomly assigned, double-blind, to O3FA or placebo for 20 weeks. O3FA consisted of combined eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid. Placebo was olive oil. Groups were compared by using (1) intent-to-treat design, with the last-observation-carried-forward controlling for baseline measures and attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder via (a) logistic regression, comparing percentage of responders on the primary Yale Global Tic Severity Scale (YGTSS)-Tic and secondary (YGTSS-Global and YGTSS-Impairment) outcome measures and (b) analysis of covariance; and (2) longitudinal mixed-effects models.
At end point, subjects treated with O3FA did not have significantly higher response rates or lower mean scores on the YGTSS-Tic (53% vs 38%; 15.6 ± 1.6 vs 17.1 ± 1.6, P > .1). However, significantly more subjects on O3FA were considered responders on the YGTSS-Global measure (53% vs 31%, P = .05) and YGTSS-Impairment measure (59% vs 25%, P < .05), and mean YGTSS-Global scores were significantly lower in the O3FA-treated group than in the placebo group (31.7 ± 2.9 vs 40.9 ± 3.0, P = .04). Obsessive-compulsive, anxiety, and depressive symptoms were not significantly affected by O3FA. Longitudinal analysis did not yield group differences on any of the measures.
O3FA did not reduce tic scores, but it may be beneficial in reduction of tic-related impairment for some children and adolescents with TD. Limitations include the small sample and the possible therapeutic effects of olive oil.

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