Washington University School of MedicineAccording to a latest study, increasing antidepressant therapy with an omega-3 fatty acid supplement failed to result in improvement in levels of depression in patients suffering from coronary heart disease.

Low dietary intake and low serum or red blood cell levels of omega-3 fatty acids are noted to have been linked to depression in patients with and without coronary heart disease (CHD). Besides, they could possibly be associated with an increased risk for cardiac mortality.

Earlier studies claimed that in depressed psychiatric patients who are otherwise medically well, an increase of omega-3 fatty acids may significantly improve the efficacy of antidepressants.

Lead author of the study, Robert M. Carney, Ph.D., of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis along with his colleagues was believed to have conducted a randomized, placebo-controlled test. This test was carried out in order to examine whether omega-3 could possibly improve the efficacy of the antidepression medicine sertraline for patients experiencing CHD and major depression.

The study authors provided nearly 122 patients with 50 mg/day of sertraline. They further randomly gave approximately 2 g/day of omega-3 acid ethyl esters namely eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) or placebo capsules to the patients for about 10 weeks.

Moreover, the authors were observed to have calculated depression levels through scores on the Beck Depression Inventory (BDI-II) and the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D). It was noted that adherence to the medicine regimen was at least 97 percent in both groups for both medicines.

“Whether higher doses of EPA, DHA, or sertraline, a longer duration of treatment, or the use of omega-3 as monotherapy can improve depression in patients with stable heart disease remains to be determined,” continues Carney.

The findings revealed that there seems to be no difference in improvement between groups on the BDI-II. Also, BDI-II scores which were estimated weekly in both groups showed that depressive symptoms appear to have improved over time at similar rates.

Furthermore, the placebo and omega-3 groups may perhaps have failed to differ at 10 weeks in reference to measurements of depression or anxiety. Additionally, there seems to be no considerable difference in rates of remission or treatment response between the two groups.