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Dig Dis Sci. 1996 Oct;41(10):2087-94.

n-3 fatty acids only delay early relapse of ulcerative colitis in remission.

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  • 1Klinikum Innenstadt, Universit√§t M√ľnchen, Germany.


Relapse prevention by dietary n-3 fatty acids (5.1 g/day) was studied in a double-blind, placebo-controlled trial of 64 patients with ulcerative colitis in remission and off steroids. 5-ASA compounds were stopped three months after randomization and clinical disease activity monitored for two years. Macroscopic and histologic activity and extension was assessed by colonoscopy at entry and at exit. Both treatment groups were well matched at start. Nine patients on placebo and eight on n-3 fatty acids stopped taking their medication prematurely. Actuarial relapse-free survival was improved by n-3 fatty acids only during months 2 and 3 (2P < 0.05-0.01), but cumulative relapse rate at two years was similar for those taking placebo (18/33 = 55%) and n-3 fatty acids (18/31 = 58%). There was also no consistent difference in clinical, macroscopic, and histologic disease activity between treatment groups. The n-3 fatty acids temporarily retard, but do not prevent, relapse of ulcerative colitis.

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