University of Hertfordshire


  • Fiona Sandford
  • Thomas Sanders
  • Hannah Wilson
  • Jeremy Lewis
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Original languageEnglish
Article numbere000414
Pages (from-to)e000414
JournalBMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine
Publication statusPublished - 19 Oct 2018


Study design Multicentre, double-blind, placebo-controlled randomised clinical trial.

Objectives To compare the effectiveness of long chain omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs) as part of the management for people diagnosed with rotator cuff related shoulder pain (RCRSP).

Summary of background Although there is no robust evidence to support their use, omega-3 PUFAs have been recommended for those with tendinopathy due to their potential to moderate inflammation.

Methods Participants with RCRSP (n=73) were randomised to take either nine MaxEPA capsules providing 1.53 g eicosapentaenoic acid, 1.04 g docosahexaenoic acid or nine matching placebo capsules containing oleic acid per day for 8 weeks. In addition, participants attended an exercise/education programme for 8 weeks. Participants were assessed at prerandomisation, 8 weeks (primary outcome point), 3 months, 6 months and 12 months (secondary outcome point). Primary outcome was the Oxford Shoulder Score (OSS). Secondary outcomes included the Shoulder Pain and Disability Index (SPADI), Patient Specific Functional Score, Euro Qol 5D-3L, Short Form 36, global rating of change and impairment measurements. Analysis was by intention to treat.

Results Difference in the change in the OSS between the two groups at 2 months was –0.1 (95% CI −2.6 to 2.5, p=0.95). The change in SPADI scores was −8.3 (95% CI −15.6 to −0.94, p=0.03, analysed by analysis of covariance adjusted for baseline) at 3 months.

Conclusion Omega-3 PUFA supplementation may have a modest effect on disability and pain outcomes in RCRSP.

ID: 15553893