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J Clin Pharm Ther. 2012 Apr;37(2):132-9. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2710.2011.01265.x. Epub 2011 Apr 19.

A review of the possible role of the essential fatty acids and fish oils in the aetiology, prevention or pharmacotherapy of schizophrenia.

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1
Temple University School of Pharmacy, Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.

Abstract

WHAT IS KNOWN AND OBJECTIVE:

Fish oils and other essential fatty acids have been purported to ameliorate the symptoms of schizophrenia or the adverse effects of the drugs that are used to manage it. Our objective is to review the basic and clinical evidence regarding replenishment of the reported decreased levels of polyunsaturated essential fatty acids, such as the omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid, the omega-6 linoleic and arachidonic acids, in brains of patients with schizophrenia.

METHODS:

We summarize the literature related to the postulated mechanistic connection between essential fatty acids and schizophrenia and the clinical trials testing fatty acids in patients with schizophrenia.

RESULTS AND DISCUSSION:

Fatty acids play critical roles in cell membranes of neurons, and certain fatty acids appear to be abnormally low in brains of patients with schizophrenia. The attempt to enhance endogenous levels thus seems a rational and worthwhile goal. The value of such intervention awaits the results of ongoing trials.

WHAT IS NEW AND CONCLUSION:

Despite the limited evidence that supplements ameliorate symptoms of schizophrenia, given the low risk of harm, some clinicians might opt to add omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid to current drug regimens in hope of better symptomatic control in schizophrenia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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