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Letters to the Editor
July 2000

Hypomania Associated With ω3 Fatty Acids

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Copyright 2000 American Medical Association. All Rights Reserved. Applicable FARS/DFARS Restrictions Apply to Government Use.2000

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 2000;57(7):715-716. doi:

I would like to report a case of a 35-year-old woman with a history of major depressive disorder who developed symptoms of hypomania on starting an over-the-counter preparation of ω3 fatty acids. The patient had a long history of several depressive episodes; however, she had not been receiving any antidepressants for 8 months. She was told by a friend that this specific product based on docosahexanoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentanoic acid (EPA) could be helpful with her mood. Although she did not have any symptoms suggesting a relapse, she started taking the ω3 fatty acids preparation (2 capsules 3 times a day, containing 330 mg of DHA and 220 mg of EPA). Within 5 days, her behavior began to change and she became markedly disinhibited, elated, overfamiliar toward men, overactive, and expressing grandiose ideation. She was brought in by her family for an evaluation at the end of the first week. Given the recent introduction of that preparation and the family's requests, it was decided to discontinue the ω3 fatty acids and attempt to avoid a hospitalization. After 2 days the patient reverted to her baseline behavior.

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