Role of Omega-3 in Secondary Prevention of CVD Questioned

Meta-analysis finds inconclusive evidence of benefit in secondary prevention of cardiovascular events

THURSDAY, April 12 (HealthDay News) -- For patients with a history of cardiovascular disease (CVD), evidence is lacking for a secondary preventive effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements, according to a meta-analysis published online April 9 in the Archives of Internal Medicine.

Sang Mi Kwak, M.D., from the Center for Cancer Prevention and Detection in Ilsan, South Korea, and colleagues conducted a meta-analysis of randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled trials to investigate the efficacy of eicosapentaenoic acid and docosahexaenoic acid in the secondary prevention of CVD. The final analyses included 14 trials involving 20,485 patients with a history of CVD.

The researchers found that consuming omega-3 fatty acid supplements was not associated with a significantly reduced risk of overall cardiovascular events (relative risk [RR], 0.99), or with all-cause mortality, sudden cardiac death, myocardial infarction, congestive heart failure, or transient ischemic attack and stroke. The slight reduction in cardiovascular death (RR, 0.91) did not persist when a methodologically flawed study was excluded from the analyses. No significant preventive effect was seen in any of the subgroups analyzed.

"Our meta-analysis showed insufficient evidence of a secondary preventive effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements against overall cardiovascular events among patients with a history of cardiovascular disease," the authors write.

The majority of the trials included in the study were funded by pharmaceutical companies.

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