EPA and DHA reduce the frequency of seizures in drug-resistant epilepsy
Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) play important roles in the maintenance and modulation of neuron functions, and there is evidence that they have anticonvulsant effects. On this basis, research was conducted on the effect of EPA and DHA on the seizure rate among patients with drug-resistant epilepsy. The double-blind, randomised and placebo-controlled trial included 99 subjects with drug-resistant epilepsy (85 aged 5 to 16 and 14 aged 17 to 45), who received 2, 4 or 6 capsules a day of: DHA (417.8 mg DHA and 50.8 mg EPA/capsule, n = 33), EPA (385.6 mg EPA and 81.2 mg DHA/capsule, n = 33) or placebo (high oleic sunflower oil), n = 33) for a year.
The effect of treatment on the seizure rate was assessed by controlling the effects of the variables sex, age, seizure rate per week on inclusion in the trial, type of seizure and number of antiepileptic drug combinations used at the start of the trial. Fifty-nine subjects completed the trial. The average seizures per month, by group, were: EPA group, 9.7 ± 1.2; DHA group, 11.7 ± 1.5; and placebo group, 16.6 ± 1.5. After adjustment, the results showed that in the EPA group there was a 42% reduction in seizure rates (p = 0.008), while in the DHA group the reduction was 39% (p = 0.04), all in comparison to the placebo group. The EPA and DHA-treated groups had seizures-free days than the placebo group (p < 0.05).
These results show that EPA and DHA are effective in reducing the frequency of seizures in patients with drug-resistant epilepsy.