Stoll A, Marangell L. (1999) Arch Gen Psychiatry 56 415-416.
No abstract is available.
We appreciate Dr Calabrese's commentary on our study of omega-3 fatty acids as a new treatment of bipolar disorder. He correctly points out both the exciting aspects of omega-3 fatty acids as a therapy for patients with bipolar disorder, as well as the methodological shortcomings of our preliminary trial.
Dr Calabrese's constructive criticisms of the study methodology are reasonable and are issues that future studies should address. When evaluating the methods for our current study, it is important to keep in mind that this was a preliminary study designed to demonstrate the prophylactic efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids as mood stabilizers.
This double-blind, placebo-controlled clinical trial of omega-3 fatty acids in patients with bipolar disorder was important not only in demonstrating the efficacy of these essential lipids in patients with bipolar illness, but also in several other ways.
Omega-3 Fatty acids may prove to be efficacious, well-tolerated, inexpensive, and desirable mood stabilizing compounds. Whether one or both of the omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil are biologically active in bipolar disorder remains an open question. Well-controlled studies designed to replicate and extend the results of the present study are needed.
These excerpts from the reply by Stoll and Marangell to the commentary (Calabrese et al, Arch Gen Psychiat 1999) on their pilot study of omega-3 treatment in bipolar disorder are no substitute for the full text, and we would encourage interested readers to consult both this and the commentary itself.
However, they do provide a simple outline of what we consider to be some of the key points applicable to this and related research.