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SAM-e: The

 

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SAM-e: The research says? 

Part 2  Mini Series

SAM-e treatment for depressionSAM-e in lower than normal levels has been found in the cerebrospinal fluid of some patients with depression, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, Parkinson's disease treated with the medication levodopa, disorders of folate metabolism and other illnesses. A review of the research of SAM-e by Richard P.Brown M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons has found SAM-e to be more effective than placebo in many trials for depression and various other conditions. 

SAM-e ; What the research says: 

Dr. Brown cited a study of more then 1400 patients comparing SAM-e to placebo in 13 trials as well as another 19 trials in which SAM-e was compared to tricyclic antidepressants, and found it to be an effective treatment for major depression. 

SAM-e was also found to be effective in 14 double-blind European studies between the years 1973 to 1988.  In these studies, intravenous and intramuscular preparations of SAM-e were more effective than placebo and comparable to imipramine (Tofranil), amitriptyline (Elavil), and imipramine (Anafranil) for treatment of major depression, according to Dr. Brown. 

 

In 1988, American psychopharmacologists Bell and colleagues conducted a double-blind, randomized, two week trial comparing intravenous SAM-e to oral imipramine.  By the end of the second week, 66% of the patients treated with SAM-e “had a clinically significant improvement in depressive symptoms, compared to 22% of the imipramine patients," the authors of the study reported. 

Doctor Brown also reported that since 1988, double and single-blind studies using higher doses of SAM-e have shown to be effective in treating major depression, depression secondary medical illness, postmenopausal depression and treatment-resistant depression.  He reported a rapid response to SAM-e in a double-blind trial of 30 depressed inpatients who received either 1600 mg/day of oral SAM-e or imipramine (averaging 140 mg/day) for six weeks. "The SAM-e group was significantly better by day 10.  Both groups were comparably improved by week six”.  Brown concluded. 

Another small, double-blind four-week inpatient study of oral SAM-e (1600 mg/day) versus 250 mg/day of desipramine (Norpramin), showed improvement corresponding to relevant dosage in the level of depression in those who responded to either SAM-e or desipramine. Brown concluded that "these findings highlight the need for larger and longer-term studies to elucidate the role of SAM-e in recovery from depression and the use of SAM-e in combination with prescription antidepressants". He added that the longest controlled-trial study on the use of SAM-e for depression has been 42 days. 

In conclusion, Brown has found SAM-e to be effective for the treatment of fibromyalgia as cited in several studies, depression in patients with Parkinson's disease, the aging brain, liver diseases and arthritis.  He also said that SAM-e has been found to reverse some of the effects of alcoholic hepatitis and cirrhosis and has been found to have some use in the dissolving of gallstones. 

Information from Investigating SAM-e by Leslie Knowlton and Staff, (Geriatric Times, September/October 2001) 

Web page and additional information by Paul Susic MA Licensed Psychologist Ph.D Candidate 

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Codes: Alphabetical Order and Antidepressant Medication Info.:

Celexa 

Effexor

 Elavil

Lexapro

Luvox

Paxil

Pristiq

Prozac

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Zoloft 


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