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Omega-3 fatty acids decreased irritability of patients with bipolar disorder in an add-on, open label study

Kemal Sagduyu1, Mehmet E Dokucu2*, Bruce A Eddy3, Gerald Craigen4, Claudia F Baldassano5 and Ayşegül Yıldız6

Author Affiliations

1 University of Missouri – Kansas City, Missouri, 8801 West 148th Terrace, Overland Park, KS 66221, USA

2 Washington University, School of Medicine, Department of Psychiatry, Campus Box: 8134, 660 South Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, Missouri, 63110, USA

3 Department of Psychiatry, School of Medicine, University of Missouri-Kansas City, Resource Development Institute, 601 Walnut Street, Kansas City, MO 64106, USA

4 Mood Disorders Psychopharmacology Unit, University Health Network, Toronto Western Hospital, 399 Bathurst Street, ECW-3D-010, Toronto, Ontario M5T 2S8, Canada

5 Mood and Anxiety Disorders Clinic, Department of Psychiatry, University of Pennsylvania, 3535 Market Street, 2nd floor, Philadelphia, PA 19104, USA

6 Dokuz Eylül Medical School, Department of Psychiatry, İzmir, Turkey

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Nutrition Journal 2005, 4:6  doi:10.1186/1475-2891-4-6

Published: 9 February 2005


This is a report on a 37-patient continuation study of the open ended, Omega-3 Fatty Acid (O-3FA) add-on study. Subjects consisted of the original 19 patients, along with 18 new patients recruited and followed in the same fashion as the first nineteen. Subjects carried a DSM-IV-TR diagnosis of Bipolar Disorder and were visiting a Mood Disorder Clinic regularly through the length of the study. At each visit, patients' clinical status was monitored using the Clinical Monitoring Form. Subjects reported on the frequency and severity of irritability experienced during the preceding ten days; frequency was measured by way of percentage of days in which subjects experienced irritability, while severity of that irritability was rated on a Likert scale of 1 – 4 (if present). The irritability component of Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) was also recorded quarterly on 13 of the 39 patients consistently. Patients had persistent irritability despite their ongoing pharmacologic and psychotherapy.

Omega-3 Fatty Acid intake helped with the irritability component of patients suffering from bipolar disorder with a significant presenting sign of irritability. Low dose (1 to 2 grams per day), add-on O-3FA may also help with the irritability component of different clinical conditions, such as schizophrenia, borderline personality disorder and other psychiatric conditions with a common presenting sign of irritability.