A randomized, controlled trial of omega-3 fatty acids plus an antioxidant for relapse prevention after antipsychotic discontinuation in first-episode schizophrenia

While antipsychotics are effective in the maintenance treatment of schizophrenia they have safety and tolerability risks. We investigated whether a combination of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (ω−3 PUFAs) and a metabolic antioxidant, alpha-lipoic acid (α-LA), is effective in preventing relapse after antipsychotic discontinuation in subjects who were successfully treated for 2–3 years after a first-episode of schizophrenia, schizo-affective or schizophreniform disorder.

We found no evidence that ω−3 PUFAs + α-LA could be a suitable alternative to maintenance antipsychotic treatment in relapse prevention, in this small study. Antipsychotic discontinuation after a single episode of schizophrenia carries a very high risk of relapse, and treatment guidelines endorsing this practice should be revised.