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Health benefits SAMe:Health benefits /Interactions/Safety and side effects



S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a natural compound found in the body. It helps produce and regulate hormones, and maintain cell membranes.

A synthetic version of SAMe is available as a dietary supplement in the U.S. It is a prescription drug in some European countries.

People can take SAMe orally or by injection. It is often used to treat depression, osteoarthritis, and liver disease. However, SAMe may also interact with antidepressant medications.



Studies that investigate the use of SAMe for specific conditions show that it is helpful.

  • Depression.There is some evidence that shows that SAMe can be helpful in treating depression, but most studies are not well designed and include a small number of people.
  • Liver disease.More research is needed to determine whether SAMe (a substance found in some liver medications) is beneficial for people with liver disease.
  • Osteoarthritis.Many studies have shown that SAMe provides similar pain relief and improvement in joint function as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, but some studies haven't shown the same results.

Our take

Generally safe

It seems that SAMe is safe and might be helpful in treating depression and osteoarthritis. However, it's possible that SAMe could interact with prescription antidepressants. Don't use SAMe and antidepressants at the same time.

Safety and side effects

Side effects from SAMe are usually mild.

SAMe can cause:

  • Having digestive problems such as nausea, diarrhea, or constipation.
  • Mild insomnia
  • Dizziness
  • Irritability
  • Anxiety
  • Sweating

If you have bipolar disorder, do not take SAMe (a supplement) without talking to your doctor first. Taking the supplement might increase your anxiety and mania.

If you have a weakened immune system, talk to your doctor before taking SAMe. People with a compromised immune system may be at an increased risk of an infection caused by bacteria called pneumocystis. SAMe may help this microorganism grow.


Possible interactions include:

  • Antidepressants and other drugs that increase serotonin levels.Do not take SAMe (a type of antidepressant) with antidepressants that contain serotonin. This could cause a condition in which high levels of the chemical serotonin accumulate in your body.
  • Antipsychotics.When taking these drugs, be careful not to combine them with SAMe. This could lead to a condition called serotonin syndrome.
  • Amphetamines.Be careful when taking these drugs together, as the combination could increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Dextromethorphan.Taking a cough suppressant with SAMe could increase the risk of serotonin syndrome.
  • Levodopa.Levodopa might not be as effective when taken in combination with SAMe.
  • Narcotics.Taking SAMe (a supplement containing serotonin) with meperidine (Demerol) or tramadol (Ultram ConZip) could increase the risk of a serotonin syndrome.
  • St. John's wort.Be careful when taking this supplement with SAMe. The combination could result in serotonin syndrome.
Health benefits SAMe:Health benefits /Interactions/Safety and side effects

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