NHS Greater Glasgow & Clyde Area Drug and Therapeutics Committee
Greater Glasgow and Clyde Medicines
Medicines Update

New Evidence Challenges Omega-3 Beliefs

Key messages

  • Clinical and cost-effective benefit of omega-3 fats is lacking
  • NHSGGC Heart MCN supports review of patients prescribed them

In July 2018, the Cochrane Library published the most extensive systematic assessment of effects of omega-3 fats on cardiovascular health to date. The review (available here) included 79 trials involving over 112,000 people and concluded that there is evidence that omega-3 fats do not reduce the incidence of heart disease, stroke or death.

Previous Cochrane reviews of omega-3 fats for prevention and treatment of a wide range of physical and mental health problems have also demonstrated weak or poor quality evidence.

NHSGGC currently spends £215,000 per year on these products. In light of overwhelming evidence that clinical benefit of omega-3 fats for licensed indications is lacking, the NHSGGC Heart MCN is supportive of reviewing prescribing with a view to discontinuation.


Published 10/10/18