N-3 fatty acid supplementation to routine statin treatment inhibits platelet function, decreases patients' daytime blood pressure, and improves inflammatory status

Eur J Clin Pharmacol. 2012 Aug;68(8):1139-46. doi: 10.1007/s00228-012-1235-4. Epub 2012 Feb 25.


Objectives: N-3 fatty acids reduce the risks of cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. Administration of N-3 fatty acids to patients treated with statins may potentiate the treatment effects. We examined the operating mechanisms underlying such a combination.

Methods: Thirty-two hypercholesterolemic patients aged 30-70 years with hypercholesterolemia controlled by statins, received sequential treatments with placebo followed by 1.9 g/day of N-3 fatty acids for 23 weeks. Scheduled clinical visits included physical examination, 24-h blood pressure measurement, endothelial function evaluated by pulse wave analysis, analyses for platelet function, inflammation markers [interleukin (IL)-6, plasminogen activator inhibitor-1 (PAI-1)] and oxidative stress parameters (STAT-8-Isoprostane) were undertaken at baseline, after placebo treatment, and after 6 and 20 weeks of N-3 fatty acid intake.

Results: Platelets functions were significantly inhibited, whereas endothelial function parameters were unaltered. IL-6 significantly decreased whereas PAI-1and STAT-8-Isoprostane levels remained unaffected. Daytime blood pressure significantly decreased; however, nighttime pressure and heart rate remained unchanged. No evidence of lipid-profile improvement was observed following combined treatment with statins and N-3 fatty acids.

Conclusions: In hypercholesterolemic patients, combination of statins and N-3 fatty acid inhibits platelet aggregation, alters inflammatory status, and positively affects daytime blood pressure. Close long-term follow-up might reveal additional beneficial effects of N-3 fatty acids in this patient population.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial

MeSH terms

  • Blood Platelets / drug effects*
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects*
  • Dietary Supplements
  • Drug Synergism
  • Drug Therapy, Combination / methods
  • Endothelium, Vascular / drug effects
  • Endothelium, Vascular / metabolism
  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3 / therapeutic use*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors / therapeutic use*
  • Hypercholesterolemia / drug therapy
  • Hypercholesterolemia / metabolism
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / metabolism
  • Interleukin-6 / metabolism
  • Lipid Metabolism / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxidative Stress / drug effects
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1 / metabolism
  • STAT Transcription Factors / metabolism


  • Fatty Acids, Omega-3
  • Hydroxymethylglutaryl-CoA Reductase Inhibitors
  • Interleukin-6
  • Plasminogen Activator Inhibitor 1
  • SERPINE1 protein, human
  • STAT Transcription Factors