141st APHA Annual Meeting

In This section

S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) for depression, to enhance the effectiveness of conventional anti-depressants and as a possible neuro-protectant

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:10 AM - 9:30 AM

Richard P Brown, MD Board Certified Psychiatrist , Consultation Liaison Psychiatry, Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons, New York, NY
S-adenosyl-L-methionine (SAMe) is a natural metabolite essential to the function of all of our cells. It has been used extensively for treating depression in Europe and other countries for over three decades. Based on its record of few side effects, it was approved by the US FDA as a neutraceutical. SAMe is a “first line CAM treatment” for moderate to severe depression. It has fewer side effects than other antidepressants, works more rapidly, can augment the effects of other anti-depressnats, and does not cause weight gain, sexual dysfunction, sedation, or cognitive interference. It is also better tolerated by the elderly, and by people with compromised liver function. It is particualrly useful in people whose depression is secondary to medical conditions. For example, SAMe improves arthritis and joint pain. In Europe SAMe has been shown to be safe for treatment of cholestasis of pregnanacy without adverse effects on mother or child. Three small recent studies of the use of SAM-e in combination with other nutrients show promising results for treatment and prevention of dementia. There are no reported adverse drug or herb interactions, and SAM-e protects the liver from the adverse effects of other medications. SAM-e is activating and can exacerbate anxiety or induce mania in people with bipolar disorder, as do other antidepressants. Because physicians are not familiar with the benefits of SAMe (partly because it is not a prescription medication in the US), public education is needed to raise awareness and provide accurate information on this underutilized, valuable treatment.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Basic medical science applied in public health
Chronic disease management and prevention
Clinical medicine applied in public health

Learning Objectives:
compare the efficacy, drug interactions and side effects of the six promising CAM treatments described in these abstracts. discuss with the panel and with colleagues the work needed to refine the outline and to make it accessible to consumers and practitioners. describe at least two examples of misunderstandings about CAM treatments for mental health conditions and how the outline can be used to correct these misunderstandings.

Keywords: Mental Health, Depression

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: I will discuss uses for an over-the-counter nonprescription nutriceutical. In the U.S., nutriceuticals are labelled for general conditions, such as mood, not for specific disorders such as depression.

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: In addition to 31 years of teaching (over 200 lectures per year) and research, I practice psychopharmacology and the integration of herbs, nutrients, and medications. I published more than 80 scientific articles, books and chapters on CAM including, 'Stop Depression Now' (1999), the book that introduced Americans to (SAMe), 'How to Use Herbs, Nutrients, and Yoga in Mental Health', Non-Drug Treatments for ADHD and “Alternative Treatments in Brain Injury” in Neuropsychiatry of Traumatic Brain Injury.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.