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Fish Oil Supplements Don't Help Depressed Heart Patients
Date:10/20/2009

Those who took them with antidepressant fared same as those who didn't

TUESDAY, Oct. 20 (HealthDay News) -- In a surprise and not very welcome finding, researchers report that fish oil supplements do not ease depression in individuals who suffer from both depression and coronary heart disease.

Participants in the study, which is published in the Oct. 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association, were also taking the antidepressant sertraline (Zoloft). Some studies have suggested that the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish might enhance the effects of Zoloft.

"Unfortunately, it's not where we wanted to be. We were kind of disappointed, to say the least," said study author Robert M. Carney, a professor of psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.

The findings leave physicians still facing the problem of how to boost depression recovery rates so as to also lower cardiovascular risk. The question is a pressing one, given that depression can double or even triple the risk of dying in heart patients, Carney said.

"We're not just treating depression, we're treating a risk factor," he said.

Fish oil, or omega-3 fatty acid, supplements have been touted as a potential panacea for a variety of ailments, notably heart disease, but they have been losing their luster as of late.

A study published earlier this year found that patients receiving optimal drug therapy after experiencing a heart attack do not gain any additional benefit from taking supplemental omega-3 fatty acids. There was no difference in rates of heart attack, stroke, sudden cardiac death or death from any cause, regardless of whether they were taking the supplements or not.

That finding contradicted previous studies, which suggested that taking omega-3 fatty acids improved long-term survival.

Studies involving omega-3 fatty acids and depression have shown similarl
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