Study: SAMe may benefit patients taking antidepressants

BOSTON A new study conducted by investigators at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital suggested that the dietary supplement S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) can be an effective, relatively well-tolerated, adjunctive treatment for adults with major depressive disorders who do not respond to their treatment with antidepressant medication, Pharmavite announced Tuesday.

BOSTON A new study conducted by investigators at Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital suggested that the dietary supplement S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) can be an effective, relatively well-tolerated, adjunctive treatment for adults with major depressive disorders who do not respond to their treatment with antidepressant medication, Pharmavite announced Tuesday.

“With each study, we continue to gain a better understanding of SAMe's role in treating depression,” stated George Papakostas, associate professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and lead author of the study. “This new finding, albeit preliminary and in urgent need of replication, suggests significant, clinically meaningful differences in outcome among patients who had SAMe added to their antidepressant medication treatment compared to those taking a placebo with their medication,” he said. “Continued research, however, is urgently needed to more definitively further our understanding of the role of SAMe in the treatment of adults diagnosed with depression. Adjunctive SAMe therapy is promising, but cannot yet be recommended for widespread clinical use.”

The first-of-its-kind study was published in the August 2010 American Journal of Psychiatry. According to the National Institute of Mental Health, there are approximately 14.8 million people with major depressive disorders in the United States.

 

The National Institute of Mental Health funded the study.

 

 

Pharmavite, manufacturer of Nature Made SAM-e Complete, provided the SAMe supplements and placebo pills used in the study.

 

 

The study, "S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) Augmentation of Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors for Antidepressant Nonresponders With Major Depressive Disorder: A Double-Blind, Randomized Clinical Trial," is the first randomized, placebo-controlled clinical trial conducted on SAMe in a population of patients with major depressive disorders. A total of 73 adults were enrolled in this six -week study and randomly assigned to the placebo control group or the SAMe treatment group. SAMe, in combination with standard depression treatment, was more effective than antidepressant treatment alone in improving measures of depression and remission rates of patients with significant clinical depression. SAMe-treated subjects had a greater response and remission rate to treatment than the placebo-treated group. SAMe was well-tolerated with no reported adverse reactions.

 

 

To date, at least 40 clinical trials have been conducted on SAMe directly and in combination with traditional antidepressant medications. Studies have evaluated SAMe's use in naturally restoring a healthy mood to the most recent research for treating major depressive disorders. This current study follows a pilot study published in 2004 in the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology, which concluded that antidepressants used in combination with SAMe were significantly more effective in relieving depression than medication alone.

 

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