SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine) is gaining a reputation in North America as a safe, reliable treatment for depression, especially since new research shows it can be successfully combined with traditional antidepressant medications. SAMe is produced in the body from the essential amino acid methionine. Research from Harvard Medical School shows taking SAMe along with antidepressant medication may help patients with continuing symptoms, especially those who do not respond well to single-drug therapy.
This six-week pilot study included 30 participants who had continued to have significant depression after more than a month of treatment with drugs like Prozac, Paxil or Effexor. During the study, participants received SAMe along with their usual medication starting at 400 mg of SAMe two times a day and increasing to 800 mg twice a day after two weeks.
Researchers found that 50% of participants had significant improvement in their symptoms, and 43% had complete remission of their depression. Mild stomach upset and headaches were the most common side effects. No adverse side effects were reported.
These results were so hopeful that the researchers have begun a double blind, placebo controlled trial sponsored by the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Sources: Clin Psychopharmacol. 2004 Dec;24(6):661-4