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Am J Psychiatry. 2003 May;160(5):996-8.

A double-blind, placebo-controlled study of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid in the treatment of major depression.

Author information

  • 1Mood Disorders Center, Department of Psychiatry, Baylor College of Medicine, Suite 560, 6655 Travis Road, Houston, TX 77030, USA. laurenm@bcm.tmc.edu



This study was an evaluation of the omega-3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) for the treatment of major depression.


Thirty-six depressed patients were randomly assigned to receive DHA, 2 g/day, or placebo for 6 weeks. Response was defined a priori as a > or =50% reduction in the score on the Montgomery-Asberg Depression Rating Scale. Thirty-five participants were evaluable; 18 received DHA, and 17 received placebo.


Response rates were 27.8% in the DHA group and 23.5% in the placebo group. The difference in response rates between groups did not reach statistical significance.


This trial failed to show a significant effect of DHA monotherapy in subjects with major depression.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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