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Alternative Antidepressants, Nutraceuticals?
Thomas L Schwartz, MD posted:
I am often asked if there are vitamins or supplements that 'are not really prescriptions' or 'are not really antidepressants' that can help depression.. I often tell my patients that there likely are things like this that can help but unfortunately these diet, food, vitamin over the counter options are often not studied well so that determining safety and dosing is tough...

In recent years however, I think that 3 products which I call nutraceuticals have started to publish data and research which allows me to 'prescribe them' or at least suggest patient go and buy them over the counter....

1) l-methylfolate helps boost antidepressant effects if you are on an antidepressant already. I do not know if it works alone. 15mg/day is the dose. It actually is a prescription vitamin (like a prenatal vitamin is)

2) SAMe (s-adenosyl methionine) is truly over the counter and if taken at 800mg twice a day can also boost an FDA antidepressant's effect

3) NAC (n-acetyl cysteine) also is over the counter and has some data showing it can treat bipolar depression at 1000mg twice a day...

So- I am sure their are others, but these three seem to have preliminary data and research which increases my confort level as a physician.
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Zielonka responded:
Hello Thomas,

I am new to this group and currently suffering with yet another relapse of Major Clinical Depression, after relapses about every 2 years for the past 10 years. My psychiatrist has prescribed Wellbutrin 150mg and Paxil 30mg (fourth week on this combination).

Priscilla Slagle, MD, a California psychiatrist has written a book called The Way Up From Down
and recommends the following as an adjunct to antidepressant meds- I would like your opinion on these recommendations. Thanks, MZPSummary of the recommendations in
The Way Up From Down

follow the directions on the product label
20mg - upon arising in the morning on an empty stomach at least 1/2 hour or more before eating
800mg - 3-4 upon arising on empty stomach
2 with breakfast
VITAMIN C 1000 :
1 with breakfast & dinner
500mg - 1-4 at bedtime
dissolve 2 under tongue upon arising on empty stomach
follow the directions on the product label
If you are taking a SSRI type, or an MAO Inhibitor type of antidepressant, omit the 5HTP. Otherwise the program can be combined with antidepressant medication & with any other medication.
Demons2011 replied to Zielonka's response:
Have no problem taking vitamins and such, but this is more pills than most pharmcists carry. Feel like I would need a degree in chemistry in order to understand what I would be taking. So no confusion here.

Featuring Experts

Thomas L. Schwartz, MD, received his medical degree from and completed his residency in adult psychiatry at the State University of New York (SUNY) Up...More

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Do not change your meds...Expert
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