NMA: Nonprescription Medicines Academy

Omega-3 Supplements Do Not Reduce Risk of Major Cardiovascular Events

October 17th, 2012

A systematic review and meta-analysis of 20 studies encompassing more than 68,000 patients found no significant associations between use of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) supplements and a lower risk of all-cause mortality, cardiac death, sudden death, myocardial infarction, or stroke, based on relative and absolute measures of association.

All randomized, controlled trials that evaluated omega-3 PUFA supplementation in adult participants in primary or secondary cardiovascular disease prevention settings were eligible for inclusion. Trials were excluded if the treatment duration was less than 1 year. The 20 included studies reported 7,044 deaths, 3,993 cardiac deaths, 1,150 sudden deaths, 1,837 myocardial infarctions, and 1,490 strokes. No statistically significant association was observed for any of the major patient-important cardiovascular outcomes studied.

According to the authors, these findings do not justify the use of omega-3 as a structured intervention in everyday clinical practice or guidelines supporting dietary omega-3 PUFA administration.

JAMA. 2012;308:1024-33.