Introduction: Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is a chronic autoimmune disease with intermittent exacerbations and remissions. A large number of different therapies including alternative and complementary medicines have been used to treat RA without much evidence about their success. In recent times, fish body oil has attracted popularity among the physicians in Sri Lanka. The objective of this paper is to produce evidence on efficacy of fish oil in the treatment of RA.
Materials and Methods: Publications to include in the present review were retrieved using a computerized search of seven independent databases. The references of all selected relevant articles were manually searched to obtain additional relevant articles. Only the RCTs published in English language were selected.
Results: Efficacy of fish body oil in the management of RA has been tested in 12RCTs with sample size ranging from 16 to 68. In all trials, efficacy of fish oil was assessed compared to a placebo. In eleven trials it has been found that fish oil was significantly more effective than placebo in the treatment of RA. However, in one trial, effect of fish oil was similar to the effects of placebo. Stomach upset, diarrhoea and flatulence were reported as adverse effects.
Conclusions: Fish oil has consistently demonstrated its clinical benefits in the management of RA.
How to Cite:
De Silva, P., 2012. Efficacy of fish body oil in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis: a systematic review. Galle Medical Journal, 17(1), pp.18–22. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/gmj.v17i1.4356