Cod liver oil supplements capable of reducing
NSAIDs for patients with rheumatoid arthritis

Certain individuals afflicted with rheumatoid arthritis are forced to limit their usage of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) because of dose-dependent gastrointestinal and cardiovascular side effects. Patients’ inability to take the recommended dosage to manage the disease has led researchers to investigate alternatives that could lower the daily requirements of NSAIDs.

A study in Scotland concentrated on determining whether cod liver oil supplements could reduce daily NSAID requirements by 30% without any worsening of the condition. The two-center, randomized, double-placebo study administered either cod liver oil or placebo to 97 patients with rheumatoid arthritis over the course of nine months. After 12 weeks, the patients were instructed to gradually reduce, and, if possible, stop their NSAID intake entirely. Overall results showed that of the 49 members of the cod liver oil group, 19 (39%) reduced their NSAID intake by at least 30%, whereas for the placebo group, only five out of 48 participants (10%) did the same. The mean daily requirement reduction was also much higher for the cod liver group than placebo (26% vs. 9%, respectively.) Of the 58 patients who completed the study through its entire course, 19 of 32 (59%) in the cod liver oil group reduced their daily NSAID requirement by 30% or more, while for the placebo group, the number was only five of 26 (19%).

-As reported in the May ’08 edition of Nursing Standard

-By Greg Gargiulo