Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) | Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation to ADHD Pharmacotherapy in ADHD Adults With Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation Traits

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) research study

What is the primary objective of this study?

The purpose of this study is to a) assess the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation (DESR) among stimulant treated Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) adults, b) assess the side effect profile of omega-3 fatty acids in the treatment of DESR among stimulant treated ADHD adults, c) assess effects of omega-3 fatty acid supplementation on ADHD symptoms and associated features in stimulant treated ADHD adults, and d) predict value of fatty acids present in red blood cell membranes. This study will be a 12-week trial with adults 18-55 years of age with ADHD and symptoms of DESR.

Who is eligible to participate?

Inclusion Criteria 1. Male or female adults ages 18-55 years. 2. A diagnosis of childhood onset Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (DSM-IV) based on clinical assessment. Childhood onset will be defined according to established research criteria, requiring onset of two symptoms of inattentive or of impulsive/hyperactive traits by the age of 12. 3. A score of 24 or more on the Adult ADHD Investigator Symptom Report Scale (AISRS), or, for those individuals stably treated with a medication approved by the Food and Drug Administration for ADHD, a Clinical Global Impression (CGI) ADHD severity score of no greater than 4 (\"moderately ill\"). Those subjects treated with traditional ADHD pharmacotherapy must be on a stable, effective dose (per clinician evaluation) of an FDA-approved treatment for ADHD for at least one month at the time of enrollment. 4. A Deficient Emotional Self Regulation (DESR) T-score on the Behavior Rating Inventory of Executive Function-Adult Version (BRIEF-A) Emotional Control Scale of at least 65 and/or a score of 99 or more on the DESR. Exclusion Criteria 1. For those subjects not treated for their ADHD at the time of enrollment, a history of non-response or intolerance to methylphenidate at adequate doses as determined by the clinician. 2. A history of intolerance to omega-3 fatty acids as determined by the clinician. 3. Pregnant or nursing females. 4. Serious, unstable medical illness including hepatic, renal, gastroenterological, respiratory, cardiovascular, endocrinologic (thyroid), neurologic (seizure), immunologic, or hematologic disease. 5. Glaucoma. 6. Clinically unstable psychiatric conditions including suicidality, homicidality, bipolar disorder, psychosis, or lifetime history of a clinically serious condition potentially exacerbated by a stimulant such as mania, or psychosis. 7. Tics or a family history or diagnosis of Tourette's syndrome. 8. Current (within 3 months) DSM-IV criteria for abuse or dependence with any psychoactive substance other than nicotine. 9. Allergies to fish or shellfish; multiple adverse drug reactions. 10. Any other concomitant medication with primarily central nervous system activity other than specified in Concomitant Medication portion of the protocol. 11. Current use of Monoamine Oxidase (MAO) Inhibitor or use within the past two weeks. 12. Investigator and his/her immediate family; defined as the investigator's spouse, parent, child, grandparent, or grandchild.

Which medical condition, disease, disorder, syndrome, illness, or injury is researched?

Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD)

Deficient Emotional Self-Regulation (DESR)

Study Interventions

Interventions can include giving participants drugs, medical devices, procedures, vaccines, and other products that are either investigational or already available or noninvasive approaches such as surveys, education, and interviews.

Drug:ADHD MedicationFor those subjects not on stable ADHD treatment (defined as a stable, effective dose for at least one month, determined by the study clinician, of a medication that is FDA approved to treat ADHD), OROS-Methylphenidate will be openly prescribed. Subjects on a stable dose of medication for ADHD will be instructed to continue on their current dose of medication.

Drug:Omega-3 Fatty AcidsOmega-3 Fatty Acids prescribed to participants randomized to active medication. They may be randomized to receive 1060mg of EPA (2 capsules containing 530mg EPA and 137mg DHA). Dosage will remain constant throughout study.

Study Arms

Research studies and clinical trials typically have two or more research arms. An arm is a group of people who receive the same treatment in the study.

Omega-3 Fatty Acids1060 mg EPA Omega-3 Fatty Acids


Study Status


Start Date: February 2012

Completed Date: November 2017

Phase: Phase 2

Type: Interventional


Primary Outcome: Mean Change From Baseline to Endpoint on the BRIEF-A Emotional Control Scale

Secondary Outcome: Efficacy Measured by Mean Change From Baseline to Endpoint on Adult ADHD Investigator Rating Scale (AISRS) Total Score

Study sponsors, principal investigator, and references

Principal Investigator: Craig Surman, MD

Lead Sponsor: Massachusetts General Hospital


More information:

Discuss Adderall