Omega-3 Fatty Acids Safe for Pregnant Women with Mood Disorders. (Efficacy Not Yet Established)

Article excerpt

SANTA FE, N.M. -- Omega-3 fatty acids are well tolerated, nontoxic, and appear to be safe in pregnancy--characteristics that have made them attractive for many patients with mood disorders, Dr. Lauren Marangell said at a symposium on mood disorders sponsored by the University of Arizona.

Because these compounds--touted for their benefits in preventing depression, and in treating idney disorders and rheumatoid arthritis--are not regulated as drugs, there are riss of contamination and content variability she noted, emphasizing that clinical use must be guided by controlled data. In part due to the widespread use of omega-3 fatty acids, psychiatrists are requesting prescribing information before controlled data are available.

An important point, said Dr. Marangell, director of mood disorders research and clinical psychopharmacology at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, "is that we don't yet now if these compounds are effective. Therefore, they should not be used as a sole treatment in situations where no treatment would be dangerous. Frequently, they are used in addition to other treatments, or in the case of milder symptoms, often when the patient refuses more conventional treatments."

Although optimal omega-3 dosing has not been established, 1-2 g daily is a good starting point, said Dr. …

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