Treating Depression in Coronary Artery Disease With Omega-3 Fatty Acids (CAROTID)

This study is ongoing, but not recruiting participants.
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Information provided by (Responsible Party):
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Identifier:
First received: September 10, 2009
Last updated: June 16, 2015
Last verified: June 2015
Depressive disorders are common in patients with Coronary Artery Disease (CAD), occurring in up to 47% of patients. Left untreated, these symptoms not only have a strong negative impact on quality-of-life, but also increase risk of future cardiac events and death. Unfortunately, about 64% of CAD patients do not respond to current antidepressant treatments. Eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) are two omega-3 (ω-3) fatty acids found in fatty fish that are important for brain function. Recent evidence showed that depressed CAD patients have lower levels of EPA and DHA than non-depressed CAD patients. This information, taken together with the known roles of ω-3 fatty acids in brain function, suggests that deficiencies may contribute to depression. However, it is unknown if increasing consumption of ω-3 fatty acids would alleviate depression and improve quality of life. While intake of adequate levels of ω-3 fatty acids is difficult to obtain through diet, concentrated supplements containing EPA and DHA that are safe, readily available, and inexpensive are now obtainable in Canada. CAROTID (CAD Randomized Omega-3 Trial In Depression) will randomize patients with CAD who show depressive symptoms after 6 months of cardiac rehabilitation and usual care to receive either ω-3 fatty acid supplements or placebo daily during their final 6 months of cardiac rehabilitation. The investigators hypothesize that patients randomized to receive ω-3 fatty acid supplements will show greater improvement in depressive symptoms and quality-of-life over time. The investigators will also evaluate possible improvements in other important determinants of quality of life: memory and other cognitive abilities.

Condition Intervention Phase
Coronary Artery Disease
Dietary Supplement: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement
Other: Placebo
Phase 3

Study Type: Interventional
Study Design: Allocation: Randomized
Endpoint Classification: Efficacy Study
Intervention Model: Parallel Assignment
Masking: Double Blind (Subject, Caregiver, Investigator, Outcomes Assessor)
Primary Purpose: Treatment
Official Title: CAROTID: CAD Randomized Omega-3 Trial In Depression

Resource links provided by NLM:

Further study details as provided by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre:

Primary Outcome Measures:
  • Hamilton Rating Scale of Depression (HAM-D) [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Secondary Outcome Measures:
  • Medical Outcomes Study health survey 36-item Short Form (SF-36) [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]
  • Beck Depression Inventory-II (BDI-II) [ Time Frame: Baseline, Week 4, Week 8, Week 12 ] [ Designated as safety issue: No ]

Estimated Enrollment: 254
Study Start Date: June 2010
Estimated Study Completion Date: May 2016
Primary Completion Date: May 2014 (Final data collection date for primary outcome measure)
Arms Assigned Interventions
Experimental: Treatment
Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement, 1.9 g ω-3 FAs daily
Dietary Supplement: Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplement
3 capsules (3x1g) fish oil-derived concentrated ethyl esters, providing 1.9 g omega-3 fatty acids (1.2 g EPA and 0.6 g DHA, with 0.1 g other omega-3 fatty acids)
Placebo Comparator: Placebo
Matching placebo, less than 0.12 g ω-3 FAs daily
Other: Placebo
3 capsules (3x1g) of 50/50 soybean/corn oil blend containing less than 0.12 g of omega-3 fatty acids with negligible EPA and DHA

Detailed Description:

Coronary artery disease (CAD) poses a serious risk to the health and well-being of the elderly. Depression is common among CAD patients and has a major negative impact on treatment outcomes and life expectancy. Late-life depression is also associated with symptoms of cognitive impairment and subsequent nonresponse to medications. Coronary artery disease and depression together can detrimentally affect autonomous seniors, resulting in increased caregiver dependence and health care resource use.

Forty-seven percent of patients with CAD have depressive disorders. About 64% of these do not respond to antidepressant treatments. Recent evidence shows that depressed CAD patients have lower levels of omega-3 fatty acids than do non-depressed CAD patients. Along with the known role of omega-3 fatty acids in brain health, this suggests that deficiencies may affect depression.

Our study, CAROTID (CAD Randomized Omega-3 Trial In Depression), will randomize 254 CAD patients who are depressed after two weeks of placebo to receive either omega-3 fatty acids supplements or placebo daily during three months of cardiac rehab. We hypothesize that patients who receive omega-3 fatty acids will show greater improvements in depressive symptoms and quality of life. This research will determine whether there is an antidepressant effect of omega-3 fatty acids in depressed CAD patients. If successful, then CAROTID will provide evidence to guide health care providers in the recommendation and use of these supplements.


Ages Eligible for Study:   45 Years to 80 Years
Genders Eligible for Study:   Both
Accepts Healthy Volunteers:   No

Inclusion Criteria:

  • Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM)-IV criteria for major depressive episode or minor depression as assessed by the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis I Disorders (SCID-I) depression module
  • Language (speaks and understands English)
  • Between 45-80 years old
  • Stable coronary artery disease (based on no hospitalization for cardiac events for at least 7 weeks prior)
  • Angiographic documentation of presence and extent of coronary artery disease (number of vessels involved, extent of stenosis, etc.)
  • Written, informed consent

Exclusion Criteria:

  • Significant acute medical illness (sepsis, autoimmune condition, drug overdose, uncontrolled diabetes, severely disturbed liver, kidney or lung function, anemia, hypothyroidism)
  • Clinically significant cognitive impairment (Mini-Mental State Examination < 24)
  • Other neurologic conditions (Parkinson's disease, Huntington's chorea, history of epilepsy, birth trauma, significant traumatic brain injury, clinical stroke, progressive supranuclear paralysis, brain tumour, subdural hematoma, multiple sclerosis)
  • Canadian Cardiovascular Society Class 4 (indicating unstable angina)
  • Ventricular tachycardia and/or implantable cardioverter defibrillator
  • Killip class greater than II (indicates high risk of mortality in post-myocardial infarction group)
  • Premorbid or concurrent psychiatric diagnoses of schizophreniform or bipolar depressive disorders, current ethanol or substance abuse or any premorbid psychiatric condition requiring hospitalization
  • Current use of a concentrated omega-3 fatty acid supplement, or contraindication to soybean/corn oil
  • Pregnant women
  • Women who become pregnant during the course of the study will be excluded immediately.
  • Women of childbearing potential must be using an approved method of birth control.
  • Allergies or hypersensitivity to fish
  • Pre-existing bleeding disorder
  • History of electroconvulsive therapy.
  • Suicidal ideation or a history of suicidal ideation/attempts (determined during SCID-I at screening/baseline visits)
  • Severe depression, defined by Hamilton Depression Rating score >23
  • Current or history of psychotic episode or personality disorder.
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Please refer to this study by its identifier: NCT00981383

Canada, Ontario
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M4G 1R7
Trillium Health Centre - West Toronto
Toronto, Ontario, Canada, M9C1A5
Sponsors and Collaborators
Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Toronto Rehabilitation Institute
Principal Investigator: Krista Lanctôt, PhD Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
Principal Investigator: Nathan Herrmann, MD Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre
  More Information

No publications provided

Responsible Party: Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre Identifier: NCT00981383     History of Changes
Other Study ID Numbers: CAROTID-2009
Study First Received: September 10, 2009
Last Updated: June 16, 2015
Health Authority: Canada: Ethics Review Committee

Keywords provided by Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre:
Fatty Acids, Omega-3

Additional relevant MeSH terms:
Coronary Artery Disease
Coronary Disease
Depressive Disorder
Myocardial Ischemia
Arterial Occlusive Diseases
Behavioral Symptoms
Cardiovascular Diseases
Heart Diseases
Mental Disorders
Mood Disorders
Vascular Diseases processed this record on November 30, 2015