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Fish oil cuts painkiller use

25th March 2008

Research by Dundee University has shown taking a regular amount of cod liver oil can decrease the use of painkillers in arthritic patients.

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The study, published in the Rheumatology journal, showed the consumption of 10g of cod liver oil on a daily basis decreased the requirement for non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by 30%.

NSAIDs have been the subject of recent concern about their potential side effects. The drugs can cause stomach bleeding. Recently, the concern that they can increase the danger of heart attacks and strokes has also come to light.

The trial's participants took cod liver oil or a placebo. After 3 months, they were told to lessen the amount of NSAIDs they used.

Around 60 patients finished the trial, which lasted for nine months. The research showed 39% of the subjects who took cod liver oil were able to lessen their use of NSAIDs, in comparison with 10% who took a placebo.

The researchers have finished three studies which all show that patients can reduce their consumption of NSAIDs if they take cod liver oil supplements.

Study leader Professor Jill Belch said the research could help arthritis patients who wanted to decrease their use of NSAIDs.

"Every change in medication should be discussed with a GP but I would advise people to give cod liver oil a try for 12 weeks alongside their NSAIDs and then try to cut it down if they can manage it but if they don't manage it, that's fine."

"If you can get off NSAIDs it will be much safer," she said.




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