N-3 PUFAs in Patients with Cardiovascular Diseases (CVDs) Comorbid Major Depressive Disorder (MDD)

Jane Pei-Chen Chang, MD, MSc



According to WHO, Cardiovascular diseases (CVDs) and Major Depressive Disorder (MDD) will be the two most disabling diseases by 2020. Previous literature showed patients with CVDs comorbid moderate depression had lower levels of docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (n-3 PUFAs) and a higher omega-6 to omega-3 ratio. However, there has been limited studies on the effects n-3 PUFAs on depression in patients with CVDs. This study is aimed to investigate effects of n-3 PUFAs in patients with CVDs comorbid MDD. We have conducted a 12-week, double-blind, placebo-controlled trial investigating the efficacy of n-3 PUFAs (3g eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and DHA) in MDD occurring in patients with CVDs. A total of 66, age 20-80 years old, patients consented to participate and were randomized to the study, where half received n-3 PUFAs and the other half received placebo. The patients were assessed for depression symptom severity with Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HRDS) and Beck Depression Inventory (BDI), respectively at baseline and at the end of 12 weeks. They were also assessed for blood fatty acid levels at baseline and at the end of 12 weeks. We have contacted 302 patients, 78 fulfilled the enrolment criteria, and 66 consented to participate in the study. Fifty-nine patients (64% males, mean age of 61.5 + 9.0 years, education of 10.2 + 4.2) completed the study. The baseline HDRS and BDI scores were 19.1 + 3.8 and 17.9 + 7.9, respectively. The baseline EPA level is 1.07 + 0.61 and DHA level is .4.54 + 1.73. The rest of the data is currently being analysed and planned to be presented at the conference. We expected patients with CVDs comorbid MDD who received n-3 PUFAs would have a greater decrease in depression symptoms, measured by the HRDS and BDI, at the end of the 12-week study when compared to patients who received placebo.