SAMe and possible drug interaction
- 5-HTP (5-Hydroxytryptophan), SAMe (S-Adenosylmethionine)
Possible Harmful Interaction
The body uses the natural substance 5-hydroxytryptophan (5-HTP) to
manufacture serotonin, and supplemental forms have been used for
treating depression and migraine headaches.
S-adenosylmethionine (SAMe) is a naturally occurring compound derived
from the amino acid methionine and the energy molecule adenosine
triphosphate (ATP). SAMe is widely used as a supplement for treating
osteoarthritis and depression.
Based on one case report and current thinking about how they work,
SAMe and 5-HTP should not be taken with SSRIs, as they might increase
the risk of serotonin syndrome.
This syndrome is a toxic reaction brought on by too much serotonin
activity. The condition requires immediate medical attention, with
symptoms including anxiety, restlessness, confusion, weakness,
tremor, muscle twitching or spasm, high fever, profuse sweating, and
The report describes a case of apparent serotonin syndrome in an
individual taking SAMe with clomipramine, a tricyclic antidepressant
that increases serotonin activity.1
Although SAMe is not currently known to affect serotonin, it does
appear to have antidepressant effects and may in some way increase
Because SSRIs increase serotonin activity even more than
clomipramine, a similar problem might occur if you combine SAMe with
The supplement 5-HTP is used by the body to manufacture serotonin, so
it could also increase the risk of serotonin syndrome when combined
with an SSRI.
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