A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of essential fatty acid supplementation in the maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis
Article first published online: 27 MAY 2002
Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics
Volume 16, Issue 6, pages 1131–1135, June 2002
How to Cite
Middleton, S. J., Naylor, S., Woolner, J. and Hunter, J. O. (2002), A double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled trial of essential fatty acid supplementation in the maintenance of remission of ulcerative colitis. Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics, 16: 1131–1135. doi: 10.1046/j.1365-2036.2002.01286.x
- Issue published online: 27 MAY 2002
- Article first published online: 27 MAY 2002
- Accepted for publication 12 March 2002
Background : Essential fatty acid supplementation has been found to ameliorate certain chronic inflammatory diseases. This effect is thought to be mediated through the modulation of eicosanoid synthesis. Pro-inflammatory eicosanoids have been implicated in ulcerative colitis.
Aim : To investigate the possible therapeutic benefit of essential fatty acids in quiescent ulcerative colitis to reduce the frequency of disease relapse.
Methods : A randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled study was performed with a treatment duration of 12 months. Patients with quiescent disease received either trial medication (gamma-linolenic acid, 1.6 g, eicosapentaenoic acid, 270 mg, and docosahexaenoic acid, 45 mg, per day) or placebo (sunflower oil, 500 mg/day). The primary end-point was disease activity, assessed by a previously validated clinical index, sigmoidoscopic appearance and histology.
Results : Sixty-three patients were randomized, 31 to receive essential fatty acid treatment and 32 to receive placebo. Disease relapse rates were similar at 12 months (placebo, 38%; essential fatty acids, 55%), as were changes in sigmoidoscopic grade from baseline.
Conclusions : The supplementation of the diet with this combination of essential fatty acids does not prolong the period of disease remission of ulcerative colitis.