Study Shows SAM-eTreats Depression

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A first of its kind study from Harvard Medical School and Massachusetts General Hospital shows that the supplement that S-Adenosyl Methionine (SAMe), can be an effective treatment for adults with major depressive disorders who do not respond to their antidepressant medication.

According to the investigators, led by George I. Papakostas, MD, of the Center for Treatment-Resistant Depression at Massachusetts General Hospital and Harvard Medical School in Boston, SAM-e treats depression. During the study, significantly more SAMe-treated than placebo-treated patients experienced a clinical response on the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale (HAM-D), which was the primary study outcome. Remission rates were also higher with SAMe than with placebo.

“With each study we continue to gain a better understanding of SAM-e’s role in treating depression. This new finding, albeit preliminary and in urgent need of replication, suggests significant, clinically meaningful differences in outcome among patients who had SAM-e added to their antidepressant medication treatment compared to those taking a placebo with their medication,” Papakostas.

SAM-e may be an efficient major depression treatment

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“These findings provide preliminary support for the efficacy, safety, and tolerability of SAM-e as an additive therapy for patients with major depressive disorders who do not respond to antidepressant treatment alone. Continued research, however, is urgently needed to more definitively further our understanding of the role of SAM-e in the treatment of adults diagnosed with depression. Adjunctive SAM-e therapy is promising, but cannot yet be recommended for widespread clinical use,” said Papakostas.

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.

More studies should help identify the mediators and moderators of response to SAM-e augmentation but for now, researchers are pleased that SAM-e treats depression.

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