Earlier studies have suggested that omega-3 has pleiotropic effects and a good safety profile, which, through combination therapy, could help raise the efficacy of anti-arrhythmic drugs in suppressing atrial arrhythmias.
Researchers at the National University of Singapore conducted a meta-analysis to discern the effectiveness of omega-3 as both a sole anti-arrhythmic agent and as an adjunct to existing pharmacological therapies to prevent atrial fibrillation recurrence.
They reviewed four RCTs with a total of 1,268 subjects and found that omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acid therapy had no impact on preventing atrial fibrillation recurrence, when compared with those in control groups.
They then wrote that presently, the evidence available did not support omega-3's treatment benefits in preventing atrial fibrillation recurrence in patients who had not received any conventional reversion treatments, or who had only received pharmacological therapy.
Wider pool of references needed
They added, however, that the review had been limited to only one outcome, i.e., time to first atrial fibrillation recurrence as measured by hazard ratio, so omega-3's potential benefits were not measured by other outcomes or clinical indicators, such as the duration and frequency of each atrial fibrillation episode.
The small number of reviewed studies also limited the results significantly, as the researchers were unable to analyse omega-3's effect in combination with anti-arrhythmic drugs.
This led them to say that "caution should be exercised when extrapolating our results to wider clinical settings".
In conclusion, they wrote: "Omega-3 fatty acids, with their pleiotropic effects and favourable safety profile, have been proposed as a potential adjunct to augment the efficacy of anti-arrhythmic drugs for suppressing arrhythmia.
"However, this present meta-analysis showed that omega-3 fatty acid consumption, either as a supplement to anti-arrhythmia, or as a sole anti-arrhythmic agent is not associated with a reduction in atrial fibrillation recurrence. Therefore, there is insufficient evidence to support its routine use in either role."
Vol. 9, no.5
"A meta-analysis on Omega-3 supplements in preventing recurrence of atrial fibrillation"
Authors: Ying Jiang, et al.