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Fish Oil Deemed Safe for Antiplatelet Therapy Patients

Last Updated: October 16, 2009.

In patients with cardiovascular disease, the bleeding risk is not increased when high-dose fish oil is combined with aspirin and clopidogrel, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

FRIDAY, Oct. 16 (HealthDay News) -- In patients with cardiovascular disease, the bleeding risk is not increased when high-dose fish oil is combined with aspirin and clopidogrel, according to a study in the Oct. 15 issue of the American Journal of Cardiology.

Pauline D. Watson, D.O., of the Drexel University College of Medicine in Philadelphia, and colleagues compared the medical records of 182 patients, most with coronary artery disease, who were treated with high-dose fish oil (mean dose, 3 g), aspirin (mean dose, 161 mg) and clopidogrel (mean dose, 75 mg), and 182 matched controls who were treated with aspirin and clopidogrel alone.

During a mean follow-up of 33 months, the researchers found that there were no significant differences between the fish-oil group and the control group in episodes of major bleeding (one versus none) or minor bleeding (four versus seven).

"Fish oil supplementation markedly increases the eicosapentaenoate content of phospholipids from red blood cells and platelets and alters their pattern of thromboxane and prostacyclin synthesis," the authors write. "These effects are thought to be responsible for the antiplatelet and antithrombotic properties of omega-3 fatty acids. Although, omega-3 fatty acids at higher doses modestly prolong the bleeding time, little evidence exists to suggest that omega-3 fatty acids, even at high doses, cause clinically significant bleeding."

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