To compare therapeutic effects of eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA), fluoxetine and a combination of them in major depression. [A chief source of EPA is fish oil. Fluoxetine is a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI) drug commonly prescribed for clinical depression
Method: Sixty outpatients with a diagnosis of major depressive disorder based on DSM-IV criteria and a score >or=15 in the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HDRS) were randomly allocated to receive daily either 1000 mg EPA or 20 mg fluoxetine, or their combination for 8 weeks. Double dummy technique was used to double blind the study. Patients were assessed at 2 week intervals. Change in HDRS was the primary outcome measure.
Results: Analysis of covariance for HDRS at week 8 across treatment groups was performed in 48 patients who completed at least 4 weeks of the study, with the last observation carried forward.
Treatment, age of onset and baseline HDRS had a significant effect on HDRS at week 8.
EPA plus fluoxetine combination was significantly better than fluoxetine or EPA alone from the fourth week of treatment.
Fluoxetine and EPA appear to be equally effective in controlling depressive symptoms.
Response rates (>or=50% decrease in baseline HDRS) were 50%, 56% and 81% in the fluoxetine, EPA and combination groups, respectively.
Conclusions: In the present 8 week trial EPA and fluoxetine had equal therapeutic effects in major depressive disorder. EPA + fluoxetine combination was superior to either of them alone.
Source: The Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry. March 2008; 42(3):192-8. PMID: 18247193, Jazayeri S, Tehrani-Doost M, Keshavarz SA, Hosseini M, Djazayery A, Amini H, Jalali M, Peet M. Department of Nutrition and Biochemistry, School of Public Health, Tehran University of Medical Sciences, Tehran, Iran; Swallownest Court Hospital, Sheffield, UK.