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Omega-3s of No Added Benefit to Heart Attack Patients
Date:3/30/2009

Standard therapy wipes out any protection the supplement might provide, study finds,,

MONDAY, March 30 (HealthDay News) -- Patients receiving optimal drug therapy after suffering a heart attack do not gain any additional benefit from taking supplemental omega-3 fatty acids, a new study finds.

In a study of almost 4,000 people who suffered heart attacks, researchers found 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. This finding contradicts previous studies, which suggested that taking omega-3 fatty acids improved long-term survival.

"Although omega-3 fatty acids are considered effective for improving prognosis after acute myocardial infarction, no randomized, double-blind trial has tested their effect on top of current, strictly guideline-based treatment," Dr. Jochen Senges, a professor of cardiology at the Heart Center Ludwigshafen at the University of Heidelberg in Germany, said in a prepared statement.

"In our study, we saw no beneficial effect. In patients who are already taking optimal medical therapy, cardiac event rates become very low, and omega-3 do not further improve them," he said.

The findings of the study were to be presented Monday at the American College of Cardiology's annual meeting, in Orlando, Fla.

For the study, Senge's team randomly assigned more than 3,800 patients who participated in the trial to treatment with highly purified omega-3 fatty acid supplements or placebo. In addition, patients received optimal medical care.

At the time of their heart attack, almost 78 percent of the patients underwent angioplasty to open the blocked coronary artery. Other patients (8 percent) received clot-busting drugs.

Upon discharge from the hospital, most patients were prescribed drugs known to reduce the risk of having another heart attack. Almost 94 perc
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