HRB CRFG launches prophylactic trial of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder



Research Horizons

The HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway (HRB CRFG) ( has launched a new prophylactic trial of Omega-3 Polyunsaturated Fatty Acids in Bipolar Disorder, led by Dr. Brian Hallahan, Consultant Psychiatrist, Galway University Hospitals and Senior Lecturer, NUI, Galway and Principle Investigator for this research study. The study is been funded by the Stanley Foundation (

Dr. Brian Hallahan, the Principle Investigator for this research study says that this is the first study of its kind in Ireland and will inform the potential role of omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (omega-3 PUFAs) in bipolar disorder therapy. The involvement of the HRB CRFG will facilitate the coordination and patient recruitment for this study which otherwise would be difficult to conduct in a busy clinical setting.

Bipolar Disorder is a chronic disabling psychiatric disorder characterized by recurrent episodes of mania or hypomania and depression. The putative role of omega-3 PUFAs principally eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) in the treatment of mood disorders has been supported by a wide variety of research studies. However, to date, it is unclear if omega-3 PUFAs have a therapeutic role in bipolar disorder. The study aims to carry out a 52 week study of omega-3 PUFAs in bipolar disorder to ascertain if omega-3 PUFAs reduce the risk of further relapse for both / either depressive or (hypo)manic episodes.

The secondary aim of the study is to ascertain if there is any difference from baseline mood scores for both elation and depression for individuals treated with omega-3 PUFAs compared to placebo.

Dr. Brian Hallahan and the HRB CRFG are also involved in a national study funded by the Stanley Foundation evaluating the effectiveness of Omega-3 fatty acid supplements in reducing transition to psychosis in individuals who are at ultra-high risk of developing psychosis.

The HRB CRFG supports clinical research by providing study coordination, patient recruitment, biostatistics and data management support for a range of clinical research programmes dealing with the health of the population. Through close collaboration with NUI Galway and the Galway University Hospitals the HRB CRFG is increasing the availability of new research therapies and investigations across a spectrum of disease areas including psychiatry, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, haematology, rheumatology, renal, obstetrics, dermatology, infectious diseases and general practice.

For further information on the HRB Clinical Research Facility, Galway please visit


Research Horizons