The C.A.M. Report
Complementary and Alternative Medicine: Fair, Balanced, and to the Point
  • About this web log

    This blog is intended as an objective and dispassionate source of information on the latest CAM research. Since my background is in pharmacy and allopathic medicine, I view all CAM as advancing through the development pipeline to eventually become integrated into mainstream medical practice. Some will succeed while others fail. But all are treated fairly here.

  • About the author

    John Russo, Jr., PharmD, is president of The MedCom Resource, Inc. Previously, he was senior vice president of medical communications at, a complementary and alternative medicine website.

  • Common sense considerations

    The material on this weblog is for informational purposes. It is not medical advice or counsel. Be smart, consult your health professional before using CAM.

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    Effect of omega-3 on NSAID treatment of rheumatoid arthritis

    Researchers from Osmani Medical College, in Bangladesh report that taking omega-3 reduced the need for taking the granddaddy of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug (NSAID) treatment of rheumatoid arthritis.

    First, the details.

    • 100 patients with active rheumatoid arthritis were assigned to a treatment group for 12 weeks.
      • Indomethacin (Indocin) 75 mg daily
      • Indomethacin 75 mg + omega-3 fatty acids 3 grams daily
    • The main outcome measures were DAS 2-28 (a measure of disease activity), number of swollen joints, number of tender joints, duration of morning stiffness, grip strength, pain, erythrocyte sedimentation rate, and C-reactive protein (both are measures of inflammation in the body).

    And, the results.

    • Both groups experienced a modest improvement in disease activity after 12 weeks of treatment.
    • Compared to indomethacin alone, taking omega-3 + indomethacin were associated with greater improvement in disease activity.
    • Physical functioning, physical role, bodily pain, general health, vitality, social functioning, grip strength, duration of morning stiffness improved significantly better with omega-3 + indomethacin compared to indomethacin only.

    The bottom line?

    The authors concluded, “Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation with indomethacin might ameliorate disease activity and be NSAID sparing in rheumatoid arthritis.”

    More than a decade ago, a review of studies by researchers at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, in Boston, Massachusetts concluded that dietary fish oil supplementation for 3 months significantly reduced tender joint count and morning stiffness compared with dietary control oils.

    This study suggests that taking 3 grams of omega-3 fatty acids supplements each day might reduce the need of indomethacin therapy. It would be interesting to see the effect of omega-3 on the use of drugs more commonly used to treat rheumatoid arthritis in the US, such as those listed here.

    2/4/10 20:14 JR

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