Evidence that the metabolism of phospholipids and polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFA) is abnormal in schizophrenia provided the rationale for intervention studies using PUFA supplementation. An initial open label study indicating efficacy for n-3 PUFA in schizophrenia led to two small double-blind pilot studies. The first study was designed to distinguish between the possible effects of two different n-3 PUFA: eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docohexaenoic acid (DHA). Forty-five schizophrenic patients on stable antipsychotic medication who were still symptomatic were treated with either EPA, DHA or placebo for 3 months. Improvement on EPA measured by the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale (PANSS) was statistically superior to both DHA and placebo using changes in percentage scores on the total PANSS. EPA was significantly superior to DHA for positive symptoms using ANOVA for repeated measures. In the second placebo-controlled study, EPA was used as a sole treatment, though the use of antipsychotic drugs was still permitted if this was clinically imperative. By the end of the study, all 12 patients on placebo, but only eight out of 14 patients on EPA, were taking antipsychotic drugs. Despite this, patients taking EPA had significantly lower scores on the PANSS rating scale by the end of the study. It is concluded that EPA may represent a new treatment approach to schizophrenia, and this requires investigation by large-scale placebo-controlled trials.