SAM-e: An effective treatment for
SAM-e: Does the research say
it is an effective treatment for depression?
is an over-the-counter dietary supplement researched both in the United States
and abroad for several decades and has been found to be an effective treatment
for depression as well as for several other conditions including osteoarthritis
and liver disease, by the U.S. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality. SAM-e’s
effectiveness has been demonstrated in well over 100 published studies comparing
its efficacy with a placebo, and has been found in some cases to compare
favorably with the results of some antidepressant medications. However,
research continues in providing a better understanding of the risk/benefit ratio
between medical treatments and SAM-e.
SAM-e: What is it and what
conditions has it been found to effectively treat?
SAM-e is short for
S-Adenosylmethionine, which is a metabolite of methionine, which is an amino
acid found in high-protein food. When researched as a treatment for depression,
SAM-e has had favorable results when compared to a placebo (a fake look-alike
pill). Also, in placebo-controlled trials for osteoarthritis pain comparing
SAM-e with a placebo or with a nonprescription painkiller, it has been found to
be more effective than the placebo and comparable to painkillers within a drug
class called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, which includes aspirin,
naproxen (Aleve), indomethacin (Indocin) and ibuprofen (Advil). Also, certain
types of liver disease have been shown to be helped through the use of SAM-e.
Although SAM-e has only been on the U.S. market since 1999, it is been studied
and utilized internationally for several decades and was approved as a
prescription drug in Spain, Italy, Russia and Germany many years ago. More than
one million Europeans have used it during that period of time for arthritis and
as a treatment for depression.
SAM-e and Dr. Richard P.
SAM-e has been used to treat
an estimated 400 patients by Richard P. Brown M.D. associate professor of
clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons
for well over a decade, many of whom were previously treatment-resistant. He
stated that "I first heard about SAM-e 20 years ago when I was doing my
residency in psychiatry at New York Hospital, Cornell Medical Center,". He then
recalled "At a meeting of the
of Neuropsychopharmacology, a colleague had learned about an exciting new
antidepressant being studied in Europe that was non-toxic, without side effects,
and worked better and faster than traditional medications."
Fifteen years later, after
Brown had developed a subspecialty practice treating patients resistant to
conventional medications by integrating alternative approaches such as nutrients
and herbs with prescription medications; Brown was introduced to information by
a patient taken from the Internet. According to Brown, although SAM-e was
discovered in Italy over four decades ago it has now been evaluated for various
disorders in ”more than 75 clinical trials involving over 23,000 people”. Brown
added that although SAM-e has been used for over four decades, it was not
researched in clinical studies for the treatment for depression until the
Next Week-Part 2: Review of
By Paul Susic MA Licensed
Psychologist Ph.D Candidate
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