According to a new analysis from the European Society of Cardiology, omega-3 supplements are associated with an increased likelihood of developing atrial fibrillation in people with elevated blood lipids.
The results were published in the European Heart Journal – Cardiovascular Pharmacotherapy, a journal of the European Society of Cardiology (ESC).
The study’s author, Dr. Salvatore Carbone of Virginia Commonwealth University, US, said: “Currently, fish oil supplements are indicated for patients with elevated plasma triglycerides to reduce cardiovascular risk.”
“Due to the high prevalence of elevated triglycerides in the population, they can be commonly prescribed. It is noted that low-dose omega-3 fatty acids are available over the counter, without the need for a prescription.”
Some clinical trials have suggested that omega-3 fatty acids may be associated with an increased risk of atrial fibrillation, the most common heart rhythm disorder. People with the disorder are five times more likely to have a stroke.
These studies tested different formulations of omega-3 fatty acids in different doses. The authors therefore performed a comprehensive meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials to answer the question of whether fish oils were consistently related to an increased risk of atrial fibrillation.
The analysis included five randomized controlled trials examining the effect of omega-3 fatty acid supplements on cardiovascular outcomes.
Participants had elevated triglycerides and were either at high risk for cardiovascular disease or had established cardiovascular disease. A total of 50,277 patients received fish oils or placebo and were followed up for between 2 and 7.4 years. The dose of fish oils ranged from 0.84 g to 4 g per Day.
The researchers found that omega-3 fatty acid supplementation was associated with a significantly increased risk of atrial fibrillation compared with placebo with an incidence rate of 1.37 (95 percent confidence interval 1.22-1.54; p <0.001).
Dr. Carbone said: “Our study suggests that fish oil supplements are associated with a significantly higher risk of atrial fibrillation in patients at increased cardiovascular risk.”
“Although a clinical trial indicated beneficial cardiovascular effects of supplementation, the risk of atrial fibrillation should be considered when prescribing or purchasing over-the-counter drugs, especially in individuals susceptible to developing cardiac arrhythmias,” Carbone added. (ANI)
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