Omega-3 fatty acid meds not effective after heart attack

By June Shannon Heart News   |   4th Jan 2019

New advice from the EMA on omega-3 fatty acid medicines

Omega-3 fatty acid medicines are no longer effective in preventing further heart and blood vessels problems in patients who have had a heart attack, the European Medicines Agency (EMA) has said.

In a statement issued recently, the EMA, which regulates medicines in the EU, said this conclusion was based on a review of data accumulated over the years and means that these medicines will no longer be authorised for use after a heart attack.

Omega-3 fatty acid medicines have been authorised for use after a heart attack, in combination with other medicines, in several EU countries since 2000, at a dose of 1g per day.

At the time of their authorisation, available data showed some benefits in reducing serious problems with the heart and blood vessels, although the benefits were considered modest.
Further data that have become available since then have not confirmed the beneficial effects of these medicines for this use.

Omega-3 fatty acid medicines are no longer effective in preventing further heart and blood vessels problems in patients who have had a heart attack

.

There are alternative treatment options to prevent recurrence of heart problems after a heart attack.

There are no new safety concerns associated with the use of omega-3 medicines.

If you are using omega-3 fatty acid medicines to reduce the risk of heart problems, your doctor will advise on the best alternative treatment option for you.

Omega-3 fatty acid medicines are still authorised to reduce levels of certain types of blood fat called triglycerides. Therefore, if you are using these medicines for this purpose you should continue your treatment.

If you have any questions or concern about omega-3 fatty acid medicines, you should contact your doctor.

"We need to focus on our whole diet rather than the use of supplements of individual nutrients to prevent heart disease and stroke,"

Sarah Noone, Dietitian , Irish Heart Foundation

Commenting on the EMA’s statement, Sarah Noone, registered dietitian with the Irish Heart Foundation, said, “Our advice is consistent with the European Medicine Agency’s ruling that omega-3 supplements are not recommended to prevent further heart disease in those who have had a heart attack. “

Sarah added that the Irish Heart Foundation does not recommend Omega-3 supplement use as it seems any benefits of fish oils come from eating the oily fish rather than in supplement form.

“Our bottom line is clear – to reduce your risk of having another heart attack or stroke the focus should be on eating a healthy, balanced Mediterranean-style diet along with tailored dietary advice dependent on your risk factors. This includes having lots of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, pulses, seeds, nuts, oily fish, modest amounts of unsaturated oils, low-fat dairy, lean meat, and low intakes of foods high in fat, salt and sugar. We need to focus on our whole diet rather than the use of supplements of individual nutrients to prevent heart disease and stroke.”

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