Omega 3 Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder: A Preliminary Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1999 May;56(5):407-12. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.56.5.407.

Abstract

Background: Omega3 fatty acids may inhibit neuronal signal transduction pathways in a manner similar to that of lithium carbonate and valproate, 2 effective treatments for bipolar disorder. The present study was performed to examine whether omega3 fatty acids also exhibit mood-stabilizing properties in bipolar disorder.

Methods: A 4-month, double-blind, placebo-controlled study, comparing omega3 fatty acids (9.6 g/d) vs placebo (olive oil), in addition to usual treatment, in 30 patients with bipolar disorder.

Results: A Kaplan-Meier survival analysis of the cohort found that the omega3 fatty acid patient group had a significantly longer period of remission than the placebo group (P = .002; Mantel-Cox). In addition, for nearly every other outcome measure, the omega3 fatty acid group performed better than the placebo group.

Conclusion: Omega3 fatty acids were well tolerated and improved the short-term course of illness in this preliminary study of patients with bipolar disorder.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Anticonvulsants / therapeutic use
  • Bipolar Disorder / drug therapy*
  • Bipolar Disorder / physiopathology
  • Bipolar Disorder / psychology
  • Carbamazepine / therapeutic use
  • Double-Blind Method
  • Drug Therapy, Combination
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / pharmacology
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Lithium / therapeutic use
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Placebos
  • Psychiatric Status Rating Scales / statistics & numerical data
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects
  • Signal Transduction / physiology
  • Treatment Outcome
  • Valproic Acid / therapeutic use

Substances

  • Anticonvulsants
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Placebos
  • Carbamazepine
  • Valproic Acid
  • Lithium