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Fish oil trials for osteoarthritis

In this trial of fish liver oil, 86 people with osteoarthritis were randomly allocated to receive 10 ml of either cod liver oil or olive oil once a day for 24 weeks. Participants in both groups were asked to continue taking their regular NSAIDs through the trial period.

  • There was no significant difference between the two treatment groups in the amount by which the participants’ pain and disability changed during the study.
  • Both treatments failed to significantly reduce pain and disability symptoms of osteoarthritis.
  • Approximately 70% of participants in the fish liver oil group completed the 24-week trial (compared to 79% who were given olive oil), but side-effects from treatments were not the main reasons for withdrawal; similar proportions of participants in the fish liver oil (30%) and olive oil (24%) groups reported minor side-effects, including stomach upsets and dry skin.


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