Fish oil may help people with chronic kidney disease

September 24, 2017

Dietitian Rachel Zabel, from QUT's Institute of Health and Biomedical Innovation in Brisbane, Australia, will investigate the effects of fish oil on patients with kidney disease undergoing dialysis.

Ms Zabel said daily doses of fish oil in the form of a tablet or liquid had been shown to decrease inflammation - a common problem in people with kidney disease.

"Research shows that patients with kidney disease on dialysis experience a range of complications thought to relate to chronic inflammation," she said.

"They can have poor nutritional status, disturbed appetite and a lower quality of life."

Ms Zabel said fish oils had known anti-inflammatory properties due to their high concentration of Eicosapentaenoic Acid (EPA).

"EPA has been used successfully in other population groups with chronic inflammation including people with osteoarthritis and cancer cachexia, however the anti-inflammatory effects have not yet been applied to patients on dialysis," she said.

As part of Ms Zabel's study, participants will be given a daily dose of fish oil, and tests will be conducted to measure changes in inflammation and appetite.

The 12-week study will seek to determine the success of fish oil as a treatment option for inflammation in people with chronic kidney disease.

Ms Zabel said, with one in three people in Australia at risk of developing chronic kidney disease, improving the quality of life for sufferers was essential.

"The incidence of chronic kidney disease is increasing," she said.

"One in seven people over the age of 25 have at least one clinical sign of chronic kidney disease and every day five Australians commence dialysis or transplantation to stay alive.

"While fish oil won't cure kidney disease, it may provide a better quality of life for sufferers."

"Treatment with rituximab was generally safe and well-tolerated in the study," Hauser said. With the exception of infusion-associated adverse events, the rates of adverse events and serious adverse events were comparable between those taking rituximab and those taking placebo. Although there were more first infusion-associated adverse events with rituximab, the majority of adverse events resolved with appropriate medical treatment. The overall rates of infection were also comparable with rituximab and placebo.

In the second study, an uncontrolled open label trial, 26 people received two infusions of rituximab two weeks apart (one course of treatment) and then another treatment course six months later. Patients were followed for a total of at least one year. Though a placebo group was not included in this safety study, brain lesions were reduced by more than 90 percent and the relapse rate was reduced from an average of at least one per patient per year to only a few for the entire group over the year of treatment. Side effects were limited to mild to moderate reactions to the drug infusion, according to study author Amit Bar-Or, MD, of the Montreal Neurological Institute at McGill University in Montreal, Canada, and a member of the American Academy of Neurology.

Both studies were supported by Genentech, Inc., and Biogen Idec., the companies marketing the drug in the United States. The drug is currently approved for use with certain types of lymphoma and for a moderate to severe form of rheumatoid arthritis; it is not approved for use in multiple sclerosis.

Rituximab has been associated with fatal infusion reactions, tumor lysis syndrome, progressive multifocal leukoencephalopathy, renal toxicity, and other adverse effects.