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

ent of the patients were prescribed beta-blockers, 83 percent got ACE inhibitors, 95 percent took aspirin, 94 percent got a statin, and 88 percent received the anti-clotting drug clopidogrel (best known as Plavix), according to the report.

Over a little more than a year, 4.1 percent of the patients died, 3.9 percent suffered another heart attack, 1.7 percent had a non-lethal stoke, and 1.5 percent suffered sudden cardiac death.

There were no differences in these outcomes for patients receiving omega-3 fatty acid supplements or the placebo, Senges' group found.

Other studies have shown that omega-3 fatty acids do appear to help prevent heart attacks. Omega-3 fatty acids are found naturally in oily fish such as mackerel or salmon.

Dr. Gregg C. Fonarow, a professor of cardiology at the University of California, Los Angeles, noted that the benefits of omega-3 fatty acids for people who have suffered a heart attack has been demonstrated in other trials.

"Prior trials have shown a modest benefit of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation after [heart attack]," Fonarow said. "To demonstrate this modest benefit, in the previous GISSI-Prevention trial, over 11,000 patients were enrolled and followed many years," he said.

"With the smaller number of subjects [in the new trial] who were at lower risk of recurrent events, no incremental benefit could be demonstrated -- potentially due to the study being substantially underpowered to detect modest benefit," Fonarow said.

So, in his opinion, "the balance of data would still support omega-3 fatty acid supplementation, along with other guideline-recommended therapies and lifestyle modification, for patients with and at risk for cardiovascular disease."

More information

For more about omega-3 fatty acids, visit the American Heart Association.


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