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Wednesday 26th October 2016

Fish oil for heart patients

22nd May 2007

Doctors are being advised to prescribe heart attack patients oily fish or omega-3 fatty acid supplements in an attempt to cut the risk of further attacks.

omega-3 1

The advice has been issued by the National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE), which believes this is an effective way to cut the risk of patients have subsequent heart attacks.

It marks a change in direction for NICE and is first time the drug regulatory and advisory body has recommended lifestyle change alongside drugs in the guidance it gives.

The Chair of the Guideline Development Group, Professor Gene Feder, said: “The growing evidence that cardiac rehabilitation and specific lifestyle changes reduces the risk of second heart attacks, as well as improving quality of life, is not widely recognised.�

The move is an update from NICE on guidelines issued six years ago and contains a new lifestyle section. As well as advising patients to give up smoking and be physically active for up to half an hour every day, it recommends a “Mediterranean-style diet.�

Prof Feder said drugs do still make a difference to heart attack patients but there is now compelling evidence of the contribution lifestyle changes can make.

The new guidelines recommend that patients who have a had a heart attack in the last three months eat more oily fish or are prescribed preparations of omega-3 fatty acids. One omega-3 supplement with a licence for post-heart attack treatment, Omacor, can cut the risk of a patient dying suddenly by up to 45%, according to research.


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