Omega-3 Fatty Acid Helpful in Medication-Refractory Depression

NEW YORK (MedscapeWire) Mar 19 — Major depression refractory to treatment with conventional antidepressants may improve with the omega-3 fatty acid ethyl ester of eicosapentaenoic acid (E-EPA). A 4-week, double-blind, controlled trial reported in the March issue of the American Journal of Psychiatry showed a highly significant benefit compared with placebo after 3 weeks of treatment.
"Omega-3 fatty acids…are derived from fish oil, and epidemiologic evidence suggests some relationships between ingestion of fish oil and both cardiac disease and depression in different cultures," write Boris Nemets, MD, and colleagues from the Beer-Sheva Mental Health Center in Israel. "Countries with high rates of fish oil consumption have low rates of depressive disorder."

In this parallel-group, double-blind study, 17 women and 3 men (mean age, 53 years) with recurrent unipolar depressive disorder received either placebo or E-EPA as an adjunct to ongoing antidepressant therapy.

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