An Italian study found that fish oil supplements work slightly better than the cholesterol-reducing drug Crestor in helping patients with chronic heart failure. The study findings, published online Aug. 31 in the medical journal The Lancet and presented at a meeting of the European Society of Cardiology in Germany, reinforce the idea that treating patients with heart failure takes more than just drugs.
In the study, Italian researchers gave nearly 3,500 patients diagnosed with heart failure a daily prescription fish oil pill. Another group of approximately 3,500 patients received a placebo pill. Both groups were followed for four years. In the placebo group, 2,053 died of or were hospitalized for heart failure, while 1,981 people died of or were hospitalized for heart failure in the fish oil group. In parallel research, the Italian doctors gave 2,285 heart failure patients rosuvastatin (a prescription cholesterol drug sold under the brand Crestor) and 2,289 people placebo pills. These patients were also tracked for four years, and the researchers found little difference in heart failure rates between the two groups. Comparing the results of the studies—which were funded by an Italian group of pharmaceuticals including Pfizer Inc., Sigma Tau SpA and AstraZeneca PLC—the researchers concluded that fish oil is slightly more effective than Crestor.
Bonnie - This was a large, well-conducted study. If I were a long-time client who at one time had the choice of listening to me (take fish oil) or their doctor (take the med), I would be pretty angry if I had chosen the latter. Given the multitude of benefits fish oil provides besides heart health, along with the multitude of problems cholesterol meds provide, is there even a question which is the better choice?