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

Boris Nemets, Ziva Stahl, R. H. Belmaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

493 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: 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. Method: 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. Results: Highly significant benefits of the addition of the omega-3 fatty acid compared with placebo were found by week 3 of treatment. Conclusions: 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.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-479
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Psychiatry
Volume159
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - 11 Mar 2002
Externally publishedYes

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