Date of Award


Degree Type

Selective Evidence-Based Medicine Review

Degree Name

Master of Science in Health Sciences - Physician Assistant


Physician Assistant Studies

Department Chair

Laura Levy, DHSc, PA-C


OBJECTIVE: The objective of this selective EBM review is to determine whether or not adjuvant therapy with Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil) improves joint tenderness in patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis.

STUDY DESIGN: Review of 3 double-blind, randomized controlled trials from 2010- 2017.

DATA SOURCES: Three peer-reviewed journal articles written in English were found using PubMed. Articles were selected based on their relevance to the question and whether the outcome measured was patient-oriented evidence that matters.

OUTCOME(S) MEASURED: All articles analyzed the effectiveness of adjunctive treatment with omega-3 fatty acids on the improvement of joint tenderness in patients with rheumatoid arthritis. The overall outcome measured was the number of tender joints before and after treatment with omega-3 fatty acids in addition to traditional DMARD therapy.

RESULTS: All three studies found statistically significant improvement in joint tenderness with adjunctive treatment with omega-3 fatty acid supplementation. Different concentrations of fish oil containing EPA and DHA were administered to the treatment groups and compared to either a control or placebo group. Patients complied with the same traditional DMARD therapy in each individual study, though the therapies differed between studies.

CONCLUSIONS: This review provides evidence from three separate studies that fish oil supplementation decreases the number of tender joints in patients with active RA. Future research should focus on increasing sample size and generalizability of research findings, and determine the effectiveness of fish oil combined with different DMARD therapies.