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Nutritional Supplement Helps Ease Depression

Study found it boosted effect of antidepressants

MONDAY, Dec. 6, 2004 (HealthDayNews) -- Adding the nutritional supplement SAMe to common antidepressants may help depressed patients who haven't responded to single-drug treatment.

That's the conclusion of a Massachusetts General Hospital study in the December issue of the Journal of Clinical Psychopharmacology.

The study found that treatment with both SAMe and an antidepressant either improved or completely relieved depression symptoms in the majority of patients.

SAMe (S-Adenosy-L-Methionine) is a substance found in every human cell and is a commonly used dietary supplement, the researchers said.

This study included 30 people who continued to have significant depression after more than a month of treatment with antidepressants such as Prozac, Effexor and Paxil. Over the six-week study, the patients took SAMe along with their antidepressant.

The patients started by taking 400 milligrams of SAMe two times a day. After two weeks, that was increased to 800 milligrams of SAMe two times a day. At the end of the study, half the patients had significant improvement in their symptoms and 43 percent had complete remission of their depression.

The study was funded by Pharmavite LLC, which makes nutritional supplements and vitamins.

The researchers noted that the study had many limitations. It was a small study that lacked a control group and the subjects knew they were taking an active dose of SAMe.

More information

The National Mental Health Association has more about depression.

SOURCE: Massachusetts General Hospital, news release, December 2004
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