Omega-3 Augmentation of Antidepressant Evaluated

Study finds no support for theory that omega-3 increases sertraline efficacy in depression patients

TUESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Giving omega-3 fatty acids along with sertraline to patients with depression and coronary heart disease (CHD) did not augment the effect of the antidepressant, according to a study in the Oct. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Robert M. Carney, Ph.D., of the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, and colleagues randomized 122 patients with major depression and CHD to a regimen of 50 mg/d of the selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor sertraline and either 2 g/d of omega-3 acid ethyl esters (930 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid [EPA] and 759 mg of docosahexaenoic acid [DHA]) or placebo for a period of 10 weeks. The main outcome measures were scores on the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) or the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II).

The researchers reported no significant differences between the groups taking omega-3 or placebo in weekly BDI-II or HAM-D scores, in 10-week mean BDI-II or mean HAM-D scores, nor in any of the indicators of depression remission or response.

"Treatment of patients with CHD and major depression with sertraline and omega-3 fatty acids did not result in superior depression outcomes at 10 weeks, compared with sertraline and placebo. Whether higher doses of omega-3 or sertraline, a different ratio of EPA to DHA, longer treatment, or omega-3 monotherapy can improve depression in patients with CHD remains to be determined," the authors write.

GlaxoSmithKline supplied the omega-3 and placebo capsules and Pfizer supplied the sertraline. Two of the study authors reported receiving honoraria, speaker fees, or advisory fees from, or having stock in, pharmaceutical companies.

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