Omega-3 fatty acid monotherapy for pediatric bipolar disorder: A prospective open-label trial

Janet Wozniak, Joseph Biederman, Eric Mick, James Waxmonsky, Liisa Hantsoo, Catherine Best, Joanne E. Cluette-Brown, Michael Laposata

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

120 Scopus citations


Background: To test the effectiveness and safety of omega-3 fatty acids (Omegabrite® brand) in the treatment of pediatric bipolar disorder (BPD). Method: Subjects (N = 20) were outpatients of both sexes, 6 to 17 years of age, with a DSM-IV diagnosis of BPD and Young Mania Rating Scale (YMRS) score of > 15 treated over an 8-week period in open-label trial with omega-3 fatty acids 1290 mg-4300 mg combined EPA (eicosapentaenoic acid) and DHA (docosahexaenoic acid). Results: Subjects experienced a statistically significant but modest 8.9 ± 2.9 point reduction in the YMRS scores (baseline YMRS = 28.9 ± 10.1; endpoint YMRS = 19.1 ± 2.6, p < 0.001). Adverse events were few and mild. Red blood cell membrane levels of EPA and DHA increased in treated subjects. Conclusions: As only 35% of these subjects had a response by the usual accepted criteria of > 50% decrease on the YMRS, omega-3 fatty acids treatment was associated with a very modest improvement in manic symptoms in children with BPD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)440-447
Number of pages8
JournalEuropean Neuropsychopharmacology
Issue number6-7
StatePublished - May 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Bipolar disorder
  • Children
  • Mania
  • Omega-3 fatty acid
  • Pediatric
  • Treatment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Neurology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health
  • Biological Psychiatry
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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