Omega-3 Fatty Acids in the Treatment of Depression

Summary

Principal Investigator: D Mischoulon
Abstract: This is a resubmission of an application for a mentored patient-oriented K-23 award, designed to enhance clinical training and research expertise in the area of major depression and the role of nutrition in the development and treatment of depressive disorders. This proposal differs from the original in that it uses an omega-3 mix as opposed to pure DHA; consists of a double blind omega-3 versus placebo acute treatment phase, followed by a continuation phase of open treatment for non-responders, and continued treatment for responders with the double blind medication from the acute phase; and includes more modern biostatistical techniques. Omega-3 long chain fatty acids are found in eggs, red meats, and cold-water fish. There is one recently published small clinical trial with bipolar patients and a few case reports/series with psychotic patients, suggesting that omega-3 fatty acid mixes may have a role in symptom alleviation in depression, bipolar disorder, and psychotic disorders. Research on omega-3s as well as other natural treatments represents an underdeveloped area in psychopharmacology, and rigorous studies in this field are needed. The goals of the project will be to assess the role of omega-3 fatty acid mix compared to placebo in the treatment of major depression. Additional studies will examine the nutritional status of depressed patients vis-a-vis intake of fish and other omega-3-rich foods. The proposed study will be based at the Massachusetts General Hospital in the Depression Clinical and Research Program, under the mentorship of Maurizio Fava, MD, and will include consultation from experts. There will also be a didactic component to the project, including coursework in biostatistics and research design, nutrition science, and ethics. The development of a larger scale RO1 project comparing omega-3 fatty acids to a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) for treatment of depression will be started during the last two years of the project period. It is hoped that this project will provide the critical fund of basic knowledge and practical experience necessary to aid the candidate in becoming an independent investigator.
Funding Period: 2001-09-27 - 2007-08-31
more information: NIH RePORT

Top Publications

  1. ncbi Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry
    Marlene P Freeman
    Women s Mental Health Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 85724 5002, USA
    J Clin Psychiatry 67:1954-67. 2006
  2. ncbi Update and critique of natural remedies as antidepressant treatments
    David Mischoulon
    Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, WAC 812, 15 Parkman Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Psychiatr Clin North Am 30:51-68. 2007
  3. pmc A double-blind, randomized controlled trial of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate for major depressive disorder
    David Mischoulon
    Massachusetts General Hospital, Depression Clinical and Research Program, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    J Clin Psychiatry 70:1636-44. 2009
  4. pmc Update and critique of natural remedies as antidepressant treatments
    David Mischoulon
    Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Suite 401, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 36:789-807, x. 2009

Scientific Experts

Detail Information

Publications4

  1. ncbi Omega-3 fatty acids: evidence basis for treatment and future research in psychiatry
    Marlene P Freeman
    Women s Mental Health Program, Department of Psychiatry, University of Arizona College of Medicine, Tucson 85724 5002, USA
    J Clin Psychiatry 67:1954-67. 2006
    ..To determine if the available data support the use of omega-3 essential fatty acids (EFA) for clinical use in the prevention and/or treatment of psychiatric disorders...
  2. ncbi Update and critique of natural remedies as antidepressant treatments
    David Mischoulon
    Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, WAC 812, 15 Parkman Street, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Psychiatr Clin North Am 30:51-68. 2007
    ..Finally, as with all psychotropic agents, natural medications should be used preferably under the supervision of a physician...
  3. pmc A double-blind, randomized controlled trial of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate for major depressive disorder
    David Mischoulon
    Massachusetts General Hospital, Depression Clinical and Research Program, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    J Clin Psychiatry 70:1636-44. 2009
    ..To examine the efficacy and tolerability of ethyl-eicosapentaenoate (EPA-E) monotherapy for major depressive disorder (MDD)...
  4. pmc Update and critique of natural remedies as antidepressant treatments
    David Mischoulon
    Depression Clinical and Research Program, Department of Psychiatry, Massachusetts General Hospital, Suite 401, Boston, MA 02114, USA
    Obstet Gynecol Clin North Am 36:789-807, x. 2009
    ..There are limited data regarding safety in pregnancy and during lactation, and caution is therefore recommended in women who are pregnant or breastfeeding...