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Omega-3s May Be Useful Adjunct to Opioids in Pain Therapy

Omega-3 may reduce side effects, development of morphine tolerance

WEDNESDAY, June 3, 2015 (HealthDay News) -- Chronic omega-3 fatty acid (O3) supplementation has an additive effect when combined with acute dosages of morphine in an animal model, according to a study published online May 25 in the Journal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology.

Graciela E. Escudero, from Universidad Nacional de La Rioja in Argentina, and colleagues evaluated the antinociceptive effect of an O3-supplemented diet, either alone or in combination with morphine after acute and chronic administration in rats. The animals were subjected to the hot-plate test to assess analgesic effect.

The researchers found that O3 dietary supplementation increased response latency, compared with that observed in the control group. There was an additive antinociceptive effect with acute morphine treatment in these groups not related to locomotor activity. The development of tolerance was diminished with chronic coadministration of morphine with O3. Oral administration of the new pharmaceutical mixture (O3 plus a subtherapeutic dose of morphine) showed analgesic activity.

"This finding suggests a role for O3 as adjuncts to opioids in pain therapy and might contribute to the reduction of the occurrence of morphine side-effects," the authors write.

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