OBJECTIVE: With growing recognition of the role of inflammation in the development of chronic and acute disease, fish oil is increasingly used as a therapeutic agent, but the nature of the intervention may pose barriers to adherence in clinical populations. Our objective was to investigate the feasibility of using a fish oil supplement in hemodialysis patients.

DESIGN: This was a nonrandomized intervention study.

SETTING: Eligible patients were recruited at the Hemodialysis Unit of Wesley Hospital, Brisbane, Queensland, Australia.

PATIENTS: The sample included 28 maintenance hemodialysis patients out of 43 eligible patients in the unit. Exclusion criteria included patients regularly taking a fish oil supplement at baseline, receiving hemodialysis for less than 3 months, or being unable to give informed consent.

INTERVENTION: Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) was administered at 2000 mg/day (4 capsules) for 12 weeks. Adherence was measured at baseline and weekly throughout the study according to changes in plasma EPA, and was further measured subjectively by self-report.

RESULTS: Twenty patients (74%) adhered to the prescription based on changes in plasma EPA, whereas an additional two patients self-reported good adherence. There was a positive relationship between fish oil intake and change in plasma EPA. Most patients did not report problems with taking the fish oil. Using the baseline data, it was not possible to characterize adherent patients.

CONCLUSIONS: Despite potential barriers, including the need to take a large number of prescribed medications already, 74% of hemodialysis patients adhered to the intervention. This study demonstrated the feasibility of using fish oil in a clinical population.

Copyright © 2010 National Kidney Foundation, Inc. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This study was conducted using Nordic Naturals ProEPA Xtra™/EPA Xtra™
The dose used was 4 capsules/day.