Omega-3 Fatty Acid Supplementation for the Treatment of Persistent COVID-Related Olfactory Dysfunction

David K. Lerner, Katherine L. Garvey, Annie Arrighi-Allisan, Evan Kominsky, Andrey Filimonov, Abdurrahman Al-Awady, Peter Filip, Katherine Liu, Sen Ninan, Todd Spock, Benjamin Tweel, Maaike van Gerwen, Madeleine Schaberg, Patrick Colley, Anthony Del Signore, Satish Govindaraj, Alfred Marc Iloreta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To evaluate the efficacy of omega-3 fatty acid (O3FA) supplementation in the treatment of COVID-related olfactory dysfunction (OD). Methods: Patients with laboratory-confirmed or clinically-suspected COVID-19 infection and new-onset OD from August 2020 to November 2021 were prospectively recruited. Patients with quantitative OD, defined as a brief smell identification test (BSIT) score of 9 or less, were eligible for study inclusion. The experimental group received 2 g of O3FA supplementation, while the control group received an identical placebo to be taken daily for 6 weeks. The primary outcome was a change in BSIT score between the initial and 6-week follow-up tests. Results: One hundred and seventeen patients were included in the analysis, including 57 patients in the O3FA group and 60 in the placebo group. O3FA group patients demonstrated a mean BSIT improvement of 1.12 ± 1.99 compared to 0.68 ± 1.86 in the placebo group (p = 0.221). Seventy-seven patients, 42 within the O3FA group and 35 in the placebo group, completed a follow-up BSIT survey at an average of 717.8 days from study onset. At long-term follow-up, there was an average BSIT score improvement of 1.72 within the O3FA group compared to 1.76 within the placebo group (p = 0.948). Conclusion: Among patients with persistent COVID-related OD, our study showed no clear evidence of relative short-term or long-term olfactory recovery among patients receiving high doses of O3FA supplementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)531-540
Number of pages10
JournalAmerican Journal of Rhinology and Allergy
Volume37
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 2023

Keywords

  • COVID-19 infection
  • anosmia
  • olfactory dysfunction
  • quality of life

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