Date of Award
Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review
Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant
John Cavenagh, PhD, PA-C
OBJECTIVE: Is the addition of Omega-3 fatty acids to other treatment methods effective in reducing pain in adult patients with osteoarthritis?
STUDY DESIGN: Review of three published, double blind, randomized controlled trials were used for this review and were selected based on their relevance to the clinical question.
DATA SOURCE: The most recent randomized control trials examining the relief of osteoarthritic pain with intake of omega-3 fatty acids in addition to traditional medical therapies were found using Medline, PubMed, and OVID databases.
OUTCOME MEASURED: Relief of osteoarthritic pain with the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to the patients’ normal therapy was the outcome measured. Attention was also paid to the occurrence of reported adverse events in all three studies.
RESULTS: Gruenwald et al. demonstrated that the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to glucosamine sulfate was significantly superior to the use of glucosamine sulfate alone in reducing pain by 90-100% (n= 26 vs 12, respectively; Pchi= 0.014). Jacquet et al. demonstrated that the addition of omega-3 fatty acids, in the form of Phytalgic, to regular NSAID and analgesic use significantly reduced osteoarthritic pain (86.5) when compared to regular NSAID and analgesic use alone (235.3) assessed by WOMAC pain scores after three months of therapy with a p-value < 0.001. Stammers et al. discovered no significant pain relief in patients taking 786mg eicosapentaenoic acid, in the form of cod liver oil, in addition to regular NSAIDs compared to patients taking a placebo (olive oil) in addition to regular NSAIDs after assessment with a t-test.
CONCLUSIONS: Although inconclusive, the results of these three randomized controlled trials demonstrates that the addition of omega-3 fatty acids to regular treatment modalities for relieving osteoarthritic pain is effective and deserves further investigation.
Martin, Lisa C., "Is the Addition of Omega-3 Fatty Acids to Other Treatment Methods Effective in Reducing Pain in Adult Patients With Osteoarthritis?" (2014). PCOM Physician Assistant Studies Student Scholarship. 203.