File(s) under permanent embargo

S-Adenosylmethionine (SAMe) monotherapy for depression: an 8-week double-blind, randomised, controlled trial

journal contribution
posted on 2020-01-01, 00:00 authored by J Sarris, J Murphy, C Stough, D Mischoulon, C Bousman, P MacDonald, L Adams, S Nazareth, G Oliver, L Cribb, K Savage, R Menon, S Chamoli, Michael BerkMichael Berk, C H Ng, G J Byrne
Rationale: Dysregulation of the one carbon cycle is documented in depression. Thereby, S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe), a one–carbon cycle nutraceutical compound with a favourable side effect profile, has a theoretical rationale for efficacy. However, further controlled studies are required to confirm SAMe’s efficacy. Objectives: To test the efficacy of SAMe versus placebo in unmedicated DSM-5 diagnosed (major depressive disorder) (MDD) patients with mild-to-moderate levels of depressive symptoms. Methods: We conducted an 8-week, double-blind, randomised controlled trial testing 800 mg/day of SAMe monotherapy versus placebo in 49 patients with MDD (Montgomery-Åsberg Depression Rating Scale [MADRS] score 14–25) who were not currently taking antidepressants. One–carbon cycle biomarkers, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF), and relevant single nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) were analysed as potential treatment moderators. Results: A clinically relevant differential reduction from baseline to week 8 of 3.76 points occurred on the primary outcome (MADRS) in favour of SAMe. This however was not significant (p = 0.13) on an adjusted linear mixed model, notwithstanding a medium to large effect size of 0.72. A high placebo response rate of 53% occurred (> 50% reduction on MADRS). Exploratory analyses showed that SAMe was however effective in reducing depression amongst participants with milder depression severity (MADRS ≤ 22, p = 0.045). Response was not moderated by BDNF, SNPs, or one–carbon cycle biomarkers, although increased folate concentrations were correlated with improved symptoms in the SAMe group (r = − 0.57, p = 0.026). The treatment was safe and well tolerated. Conclusions: Although a differential reduction in depression symptoms between groups was observed in favour of SAMe, the results of this pilot study were not statistically significant. Trial registration: ANZCTR—Australian New Zealand Clinical Trials Registry; No.: ACTRN12613001299796; URL:









209 - 218




Berlin, Germany







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal