ORIGIN Study Looks at n-3 Fatty Acids and CV Outcomes in Patients With Dysglycemia

In a study published on June 11 in The New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM), authors found that daily supplementation of n-3 fatty acids did not reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in high-risk patients.

The use of n-3 fatty acids may have beneficial effects on arrhythmias, evaluated triglyceride levels, atherosclerotic plaque, impaired endothelial function, platelet aggregation, and inflammation; however, since no large trials have focused on the effect of n-3 fatty acids in patients with type 2 diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, or impaired glucose tolerance, study authors "tested the hypothesis that long-term supplementation with n-3 fatty acids would reduce the rate of cardiovascular events in this population of patients."

The study used 12,536 randomly assigned patients who were at high-risk for cardiovascular events and had impaired fasting glucose, impaired glucose tolerance, or diabetes. Patients received a 1-g capsule containing at least 900 mg of ethyl esters of n-3 fatty acids or placebo daily and received either insulin glargine or standard care.

The authors found that, "a daily 1-g dose of n-3 fatty acids, as compared with placebo, did not prevent death or any cardiovascular outcomes in patients who had (or were at high risk for) diabetes and were at increased risk for cardiovascular events."

However, the authors noted that "these findings may not be relevant to dietary recommendations to consume more fish, because dietary change not only increases the intake of foods containing n-3 fatty acids but is also associated with a reduction in the consumption of foods such as red meats, which may be harmful."

Three related studies that include high- and low-risk patients are currently underway and will provide additional information about the effect of supplementation with n-3 fatty acids in patients at various risk levels.

< Back to Listings