Omega-3 fatty acids and supportive psychotherapy for perinatal depression

A randomized placebo-controlled study

Marlene P. Freeman, Melinda F Davis, Priti Sinha, Katherine L. Wisner, Joseph R. Hibbeln, Alan J. Gelenberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

138 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background: Perinatal major depressive disorder (MDD), including antenatal and postpartum depression, is common and has serious consequences. This study was designed to investigate the feasibility, safety, and efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids for perinatal depression in addition to supportive psychotherapy. Methods: Perinatal women with MDD were randomized to eicosapentaenoic (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acids (DHA), 1.9g/day, or placebo for 8weeks. A manualized supportive psychotherapy was provided to all subjects. Symptoms were assessed with the Hamilton Rating Scale for Depression (HAM-D) and Edinburgh Postnatal Depression Scale (EPDS) biweekly. Results: Fifty-nine women enrolled; N = 51 had two data collection points that allowed for evaluation of efficacy. Omega-3 fatty acids were well tolerated. Participants in both groups experienced significant decreases in EPDS and HAM-D scores (p < .0001) from baseline. We did not find a benefit of omega-3 fatty acids over placebo. Dietary omega-3 fatty acid intake was low among participants. Limitations: The ability to detect an effect of omega-3 fatty acids may have been limited by sample size, study length, or dose. The benefits of supportive psychotherapy may have limited the ability to detect an effect of omega-3 fatty acids. Conclusions: There was no significant difference between omega-3 fatty acids and placebo in this study in which all participants received supportive psychotherapy. The manualized supportive psychotherapy warrants further study. The low intake of dietary omega-3 fatty acids among participants is of concern, in consideration of the widely established health advantages in utero and in infants.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)142-148
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Affective Disorders
Volume110
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2008

Fingerprint

Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Psychotherapy
Placebos
Depression
Postpartum Depression
Aptitude
Major Depressive Disorder
Eicosapentaenoic Acid
Docosahexaenoic Acids
Sample Size
Safety
Health

Keywords

  • Depression
  • Omega-3
  • Perinatal
  • Postpartum
  • Pregnancy
  • Supportive psychotherapy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Behavioral Neuroscience
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Neurology
  • Psychology(all)

Cite this

Omega-3 fatty acids and supportive psychotherapy for perinatal depression : A randomized placebo-controlled study. / Freeman, Marlene P.; Davis, Melinda F; Sinha, Priti; Wisner, Katherine L.; Hibbeln, Joseph R.; Gelenberg, Alan J.

In: Journal of Affective Disorders, Vol. 110, No. 1-2, 09.2008, p. 142-148.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Freeman, Marlene P. ; Davis, Melinda F ; Sinha, Priti ; Wisner, Katherine L. ; Hibbeln, Joseph R. ; Gelenberg, Alan J. / Omega-3 fatty acids and supportive psychotherapy for perinatal depression : A randomized placebo-controlled study. In: Journal of Affective Disorders. 2008 ; Vol. 110, No. 1-2. pp. 142-148.
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