De gids voor de geestelijke gezondheidszorg

Omega-3 Treatment Shows Long-term Psychosis Prevention

23 August 2015

For the double-blind study, 81 patients (mean age, 16.5 years) who were considered to be at "ultra-high" risk for psychosis were treated for 12 weeks with daily supplementation of either fish oil capsules, providing omega-3 PUFAs of 700 mg of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and 480 mg of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) (n = 41), or placebo capsules matched in appearance and flavor with the active treatment (n = 40).

In the latest analysis, 71 of the original 81 patients were followed, at a median of 6.7 years from baseline. Changes in scores on the Positive and Negative Syndrome Scale were significantly greater for the omega-3 PUFA group in the longer-term follow-up. Differences in the Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale were not statistically significant (P = .117), and the omega-3 PUFA group had significantly higher functioning than the group receiving placebo, as reflected in Global Assessment of Functioning scores (P = .01). The proportion of patients who reported being prescribed antipsychotic medication at the time of long-term follow-up was 29.4% in the omega-3 PUFA group, compared with 54.3% in the placebo group (P = .04). The majority of the individuals from the omega-3 group did not show severe functional impairment, were employed full-time, and no longer experienced attenuated psychotic symptoms at follow- up.

The authors speculate that the timing of the intervention may be critical ― during adolescence and before conversion to psychosis, when the neurodevelopment in brain regions relevant to schizophrenia occurs. Interest in the role of omega-3 PUFAs in preventing psychosis has been driven by their known role in reducing systemic inflammation, which has been linked to mental illness: deficiencies in omega-3 PUFAs have been observed in schizophrenia.

Amminger GP, Schäfer MR, Schlögelhofer M, Klier CM, & McGorry PD
Longer-term outcome in the prevention of psychotic disorders by the Vienna omega-3 study
Nature Communications

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