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High-Dose Omega-3 Supplements Do Not Prevent Recurrence Of Atrial Fibrillation

November 15, 2010: 02:27 PM EST

A randomized U.S. clinical trial involving 663 heart patients has found that high-dose prescription omega-3 fatty acid supplements had no impact on the recurrence of atrial fibrillation over six months. Some earlier studies had found evidence that omega-3 supplements, such as from fish oil, might improve treatment of atrial fibrillation, a disease that can lead to reduced quality of life, hospitalization, heart failure, stroke, and death. There is currently no effective therapy for the condition. Participants received prescription omega-3 (8 grams/day) or a placebo for the first seven days, then prescription omega-3 (4 grams/day) or a placebo for six months. Many of the patients experienced sudden attacks of AF during the study. The researchers concluded: “Prescription omega-3 did not show evidence of reducing the recurrence of symptomatic atrial fibrillation.”

Peter Kowey, MD, et al., "Efficacy and Safety of Prescription Omega-3 Fatty Acids for the Prevention of Recurrent Symptomatic Atrial Fibrillation", Journal of the American Medical Association, November 15, 2010, © JAMA
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