Background: Rheumatoid arthritis is a symmetric peripheral polyarthritis of unknown etiology that, untreated or if unresponsive the therapy, typically leads to deformity and destruction of joints due to erosion of cartilage and bone. Omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to reduce morning stiffness, the number of tender joints and swollen joints in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. This study is designed for evaluation of omega-3 effects on disease activity and remission of rheumatoid arthritis in DMARDs treated patients and on weight changes and reduction of analgesic drugs consumption versus placebo.
Methods: Sixty patients with active rheumatoid arthritis (49 female and 11 male) underwent rheumatologist examination and disease activity score were calculated. Then patients were enrolled in this 12 week, double blind, randomized, placebo- controlled study. The patients in both groups continued their pre study standard treatment. The patients were visited every 4 weeks, 4 times and data were recorded.
Results: Significant improvement in the patient's global evaluation and in the physician's assessment of disease was observed in those taking omega-3. The proportions of patients who improved and of those who were able to reduce their concomitant analgesic medication were significantly greater with omega-3 consumption. There were no weight changes.
Conclusion: Daily supplementation with omega-3 results has significant clinical benefit and may reduce the need for concomitant analgesic consumption without weight changes.