SAMe is a molecule that is formed naturally in the body. It can also be made in the laboratory. SAMe is involved in the formation, activation, or breakdown of other chemicals in the body, including hormones, proteins, phospholipids, and certain drugs.
SAMe has been available as a dietary supplement in the US since 1999, but it has been used as a prescription drug in Italy since 1979, in Spain since 1985, and in Germany since 1989.
SAMe is used by mouth for depression, anxiety, heart disease, fibromyalgia, abdominal pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendonitis, chronic lower back pain, dementia, Alzheimer's disease, slowing the aging process, chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS), improving mental performance, liver disease, and Parkinson's disease. It is also used for attention deficit-hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury, seizures, migraine headache, lead poisoning, to break down a chemical in the body called bilirubin, or to help with disorders related to the buildup of a chemical called porphyrin or its precursors.
Some women take SAMe by mouth for premenstrual syndrome (PMS) and a more severe form of PMS called premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD).
SAMe is used intravenously (by IV) for depression, osteoarthritis, AIDS-related nervous system disorders, fibromyalgia, liver disease, cirrhosis, and for a liver disorder that occurs in pregnant women called intrahepatic cholestasis.
SAMe is injected as a shot for fibromyalgia, depression, and Alzheimer's disease.
How it works
The body uses SAMe to make certain chemicals in the body that play a role in pain, depression, liver disease, and other conditions. People who don't make enough SAMe naturally may be helped by taking SAMe as a supplement.
Taking SAMe by mouth, as an injection, or as a shot seems to reduce symptoms of major depression. Several studies have shown that taking SAMe by mouth can be beneficial and might be as effective as some prescription medications used for depression (tricyclic antidepressants). Some research also shows that taking SAMe by mouth might be helpful for people who do not have a good response to a prescription antidepressant. Giving SAMe as an injection or as a shot also seems to improve depression as effectively as some prescription medications used for depression. But lower doses of SAMe (100-200 mg) might not improve depression scores in people with mild to moderate depression when given as an injection or a shot. SAMe should not be taken in combination with a prescription antidepressant without the monitoring of a health professional.
Taking SAMe by mouth seems to work about as well as aspirin and similar medications for reducing symptoms of osteoarthritis. But it can take twice as long to start working. Most people with arthritis need to take SAMe for about a month before they feel better.
SAMe is LIKELY SAFE when taken by mouth, given intravenously (by IV), or when injected as a shot, appropriately. It can sometimes cause gas, vomiting, diarrhea, constipation, dry mouth, headache, mild insomnia, anorexia, sweating, dizziness, and nervousness, especially at higher doses. It can also make some people with depression feel anxious.
Pregnancy: SAMe isPOSSIBLY SAFEwhen given intravenously (by IV) in the short-term during the thirdtrimesterof pregnancy. An 800 mg dose of SAMe has been used intravenously for 14-20 days without any adverse effects. There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking higher doses of SAMe for longer periods of time or during the earlier trimesters of pregnancy. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Breast-feeding: There is not enough reliable information about the safety of taking SAMe if you are pregnant or breast feeding. Stay on the safe side and avoid use.
Children: SAMe is POSSIBLY SAFE when taken by mouth or used intravenously (by IV) in children in the short-term.
Bipolar disorder: Use of SAMe can cause people with bipolar disorder to convert from depression to mania.
Inherited disorder called Lesch-Nyhan syndrome: SAMe might make symptoms of Lesch-Nyhan syndrome worse.
Parkinson's disease: SAMe might make Parkinson's symptoms worse.
Surgery: SAMe might affect the central nervous system. This could interfere with surgery. Stop taking SAMe at least 2 weeks before a scheduled surgery.
MajorDextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others)
SAMe can affect a brain chemical called serotonin. Dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) can also affect serotonin. Taking SAMe along with dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, others) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take SAMe if you are taking dextromethorphan (Robitussin DM, and others).
SAMe increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Some medications for depression also increase the brain chemical serotonin. Taking SAMe along with these medications for depression might increase serotonin too much and cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take SAMe if you are taking medications for depression.Some of these medications for depression include fluoxetine (Prozac), paroxetine (Paxil), sertraline (Zoloft), amitriptyline (Elavil), clomipramine (Anafranil), imipramine (Tofranil), and others.SAMe increases a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Some medications used for depression also increase serotonin. Taking SAMe along with these medications used for depression might cause too much serotonin in the body, and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.Some of these medications used for depression include phenelzine (Nardil), tranylcypromine (Parnate), and others.Levodopa is used for Parkinson's disease. SAMe can chemically change levodopa in the body and decrease the effectiveness of levodopa. Taking SAMe along with levodopa might make Parkinson's disease symptoms worse. Do not take SAMe if you are taking levodopa.Meperidine (Demerol)
SAMe increases a chemical in the brain called serotonin. Meperidine (Demerol) can also increase serotonin in the brain. Taking SAMe along with meperidine (Demerol) might cause too much serotonin in the brain and serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety.Pentazocine (Talwin)
SAMe increases a brain chemical called serotonin. Pentazocine (Talwin) also increases serotonin. Taking SAMe along with pentazocine (Talwin) might cause serious side effects including heart problems, shivering, and anxiety. Do not take SAMe if you are taking pentazocine (Talwin).