Omega-3 Treatment of Childhood Depression: A Controlled, Double-Blind Pilot Study

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Journal: American Journal of Psychiatry 163:1098-1100, June 2006 Authors and Affiliations: Nemets H, Nemets B, Apter A, Bracha Z, Belmaker RH. Faculty of Health Sciences, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel. PMID: 16741212

Objective: Major depressive disorder in children may be more common than previously thought, and its therapeutics are unclear. Because of success in a previous study on omega-3 fatty acids in adult major depressive disorder, the authors planned a pilot study of omega-3 fatty acids in childhood major depression.

Method: Children who entered the study were between the ages of 6 and 12. Ratings were performed at baseline and at 2, 4, 8, 12, and 16 weeks using Children’s Depression Rating Scale (CDRS), Children’s Depression Inventory (CDI), and Clinical Global Impression (CGI). Children were randomized to omega-3 fatty acids or placebo as pharmacologic monotherapy. Twenty-eight patients were randomized, and 20 completed at least 1 month’s ratings.

Results: Analysis of variance showed highly significant effects of omega-3 on symptoms using the CDRS, CDI, and CGI.

Conclusions: Omega-3 fatty acids may have therapeutic benefits in childhood depression.

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