The combination of high EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) omega-3 fatty acids and inositol appears to be promising in the treatment of prepubertal children with bipolar spectrum disorders, a pilot study suggests.
The finding, from a preliminary double-blind randomized clinical trial, was presented here at the American Society of Clinical Psychopharmacology (ASCP) 2014 Annual Meeting.
"The possibility of using natural products in the management of a very serious illness like bipolar disorder is extremely important," Joseph Biederman, MD, director of the Pediatric Psychopharmacology Unit at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, told Medscape Medical News.
"The effects that we saw with these products, particularly the combination of high EPA omega-3 fatty acids plus inositol, were comparable to the effects that we are accustomed to seeing with more toxic drugs. It was quite surprising and quite impressive," Dr. Biederman said.The small study included 24 children aged 6 to 12 years who met Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition criteria for bipolar spectrum disorder (bipolar disorder I, II, or not otherwise specified [NOS]) and who displayed mixed, manic, or hypomanic symptoms.
The children were randomly assigned to receive either monotherapy with EPA/DHA (docosahexaenoic acid) omega-3 fatty acids (3000 mg) plus placebo (n = 7), inositol (2000 mg for children weighing 25 kg or more; 80 mg/kg for children weighing less than 25 kg) plus placebo (n = 7), or the combined active treatment of omega-3 fatty acids and inositol (n = 10).
At the end of 12 weeks, the children who received the combined treatment of omega-3 fatty acids and inositol showed significantly greater improvement on the Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) than those treated with inositol (P = .021) and omega-3 fatty acids (P = .046) alone.