Fatty Acid Reduces Risk of Progression of Psychiotic Disorder and Prevention in Young

A Randomized, Placebo-Controlled Trial

Published in “General Psychiatry” by the American Medial Association

February 2, 2010

G. Paul Amminger, MD; Miriam R. Schäfer, MD; Konstantinos Papageorgiou, MD; Claudia M. Klier, MD; Sue M. Cotton, PhD; Susan M. Harrigan, MSc; Andrew Mackinnon, PhD; Patrick D. McGorry, MD, PhD; Gregor E. Berger, MD

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2010;67(2):146-154.

Context  The use of antipsychotic medication for the prevention of psychotic disorders is controversial. Long-chain {omega}-3 (omega-3) polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) may be beneficial in a range of psychiatric conditions, including schizophrenia. Given that {omega}-3 PUFAs are generally beneficial to health and without clinically relevant adverse effects, their preventive use in psychosis merits investigation.
Author Affiliations: Department of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Medical University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria (Drs Amminger, Schäfer, Papageorgiou, and Klier); Orygen Research Centre, Centre for Youth Mental Health, The University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia (Drs Amminger, Cotton, Mackinnon, and McGorry and Ms Harrigan); and Department of Research and Education, The Schlössli Clinic, Oetwil am See, Switzerland (Dr Berger).

Objective  To determine whether {omega}-3 PUFAs reduce the rate of progression to first-episode psychotic disorder in adolescents and young adults aged 13 to 25 years with subthreshold psychosis.

Design  Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial conducted between 2004 and 2007.

Setting  Psychosis detection unit of a large public hospital in Vienna, Austria.

Participants  Eighty-one individuals at ultra-high risk of psychotic disorder.

Interventions  A 12-week intervention period of 1.2-g/d {omega}-3 PUFA or placebo was followed by a 40-week monitoring period; the total study period was 12 months.

Main Outcome Measures  The primary outcome measure was transition to psychotic disorder. Secondary outcomes included symptomatic and functional changes. The ratio of {omega}-6 to {omega}-3 fatty acids in erythrocytes was used to index pretreatment vs posttreatment fatty acid composition.

Results  Seventy-six of 81 participants (93.8%) completed the intervention. By study’s end (12 months), 2 of 41 individuals (4.9%) in the {omega}-3 group and 11 of 40 (27.5%) in the placebo group had transitioned to psychotic disorder (P = .007). The difference between the groups in the cumulative risk of progression to full-threshold psychosis was 22.6% (95% confidence interval, 4.8-40.4). {omega}-3 Polyunsaturated fatty acids also significantly reduced positive symptoms (P = .01), negative symptoms (P = .02), and general symptoms (P = .01) and improved functioning (P = .002) compared with placebo. The incidence of adverse effects did not differ between the treatment groups.

Conclusions  Long-chain {omega}-3 PUFAs reduce the risk of progression to psychotic disorder and may offer a safe and efficacious strategy for indicated prevention in young people with subthreshold psychotic states.

Trial Registration  clinicaltrials.gov Identifier: NCT00396643

SOURCE: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/67/2/146

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2 Responses to “Fatty Acid Reduces Risk of Progression of Psychiotic Disorder and Prevention in Young”

  1. carlaspacher Says:

    Very good to know! Iwill pass this along to others, especially those with kids!

    Here’s a link on “How can I get more omega 3 fatty acids in my daily meals?” http://www.whfoods.com/genpage.php?tname=george&dbid=75

  2. Your Friend Says:

    Hi Carla!

    Thanks for the additional info!


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