September 12, 2005

Omega-3 oils (EPA) Promising

EPA Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oils) -- EPA is short for eicosapentaenoic acid -- have, in another study, been shown to have some promising effects in people who have bipolar disorder.

Omega-3 oils have been used as a complimentary treatment for the depressive phase of the disorder and it has been noted for not precipitating a manic episode, as some antidepressants can.

In this study 12 individuals with bipolar I disorder that were being treated as outpatients were given 1.5/2 g/day of omega-3 fatty acid EPA for around 6 months.

8 of the 10 who followed up for at least a month were able to get a 50% lessening in symptoms of depression. This was determined with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression. No one developed hypomania or mania and there were no extreme side effects.

This study has a number of limitations. The small sample size is a limitation as well as its open label design. Also there is the fact that these were all outpatients with bipolar disorder, so the most severely afflicted patients have not been determined to benefit from such treatment (inpatients). The results were extremely positive though, and should be replicated in larger studies that take into account other groups, such as inpatients with bipolar disorder.

More information on EPA Omega 3 fish oils as complementary treatment for bipolar disorder

Original Source: Eicosapentaenoic acid treatment shows promise for bipolar therapy. Managed Care Law Weekly via via and September 2005.

This research article was published in J Clin Psychiatry, 2005;66(6):726-9.


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