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mattom75: SAM-E withdrawal symptoms


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I am so thankful to find this forum. I also am suffering from SAM-E withdrawls. I did lots of research before trying it, and almost all of the information I could find was positive. I couldn't find anything about serious withdrawl symptoms.


I took SAM-E for about three or four weeks. Beginning mid October 2016 and stopped early November 2016. I began with 200mg for two weeks then increased to 400mg for another week or so. I can't remember if my symptoms began before or after I stopped taking it cold turkey.


I started feeling lightheaded, I wouldn't say that I feel dizzy. I don't feel like anything is spinning or that I am going to fall over, I just feel lightheaded 24/7. I notice that if I drink three or four beers the next day the lightheaded is much worse. I am also now having moderate social anxiety. I have always had very mild social anxiety but nothing that prevented me from living a normal life.


Since stopping the SAM-E I was out with a friend and had my first ever panic attack. It was very unsettling to say the least. The worst thing about having a panic attack is now I am worried that it will happen again so I just want to avoid any and all social situations and that is not how I want to live. I do not take and have never taken any other types of anti depressants. I have been considering it though to help ease the withdrawl symptoms of SAM-E but after doing a lot of research on the side affects I have no desire to be on any anti depressants.


I am hoping that since I was on such a low dose for only a few weeks that it will not take me twelve or more months to feel normal again. I have been very depressed lately thinking that my symptoms might be permanant. It is very reassuring to hear from people that going through the same thing and to know that it will get better with time.

Edited by ChessieCat
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  • Moderator Emeritus

mattom75 -- Welcome to Surviving Antidepressants (SA)


Good for you in deciding not to try another substance to deal with the anxiety and panic caused by withdrawal from SAM-e.


SAM-e affects the serotonin in all of the CNS (central nervous system), as do SSRI drugs like Paxil, Prozac, etc. Most of your serotonin receptor cells are in your gut so getting that dizzy nauseated feeling is fairly common when starting SAM-e or an SSRI.


To cope with anxiety, you may find helpful ideas in these topics:

Non-drug techniques to cope with emotional symptoms.

The Dr. Claire Weekes Method of Recovering from a Sensitized Nervous System


Many people find supplementing with Omega 3 fatty acids and/or magnesium helpful. Start with one or the other at a low dose and work up.

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker.


Thanks for coming out of "lurk-dom" to post. This is YOUR introduction topic -- the place for you to ask questions, record symptoms, share your progress, and connect with other members of the SA community.


I hope you'll find the information in the SA forums helpful for your situation. I'm sorry that you are in the position that you need the information, but am glad that you found us.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • 5 weeks later...

I have decided to post a update once a month to track my progress. I am now on month number three of feeling very lightheaded 24/7 and also having social anxiety. I have also been experiencing depression but I am not sure if it is from the SAM-E withdrawls or from a recent break up, coincidentally both occured simultaneously so I can't say for sure that the SAM-E is the cause of my depression symptoms. December and January were the worst. I started jogging a few miles every day because I read that exercise can help to ease depression and it seems to be helping. My mood lately has improved. A few other noticeable symptoms I am experiencing are low libido, problems with concentration/focus, memory, and communication. This must be the "brain fog" that a lot of people experience when discontinuing ssri. When I am having a conversation I often struggle to find/use the correct words or phrases to express myself which I find very frustrating and embarrassing. I do better when typing because I have time to think about what I want to say. None of this was ever a problem before I used SAM-E.


I was wondering if there were any supplements I could take that might possibly heal my brain faster so I have been doing a lot of online research. I have not looked in to magnesium yet but I will as soon as I finish writing this post. The information I found about fish oil looked very promising until I found a site that discussed the possible negative affects of fish oil supplements. I read that if a persons acetylcholine leves are already high then taking fish oil will make depression and anxiety symptoms worse. I want to try fish oil to see if it will help but I will have my acetylcholine levels checked before I do.


I have been meaning to meet with a psychologist to get their take on what is going on with my brain. I went in to the office and spent a hour filling out forms and questionnaires, they scheduled a appointment but I had to cancel it due to my work schedule and just haven't taken the time to reschedule. When I do finally meet the psychologist if they give me any good insight I will share it in my next post.

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  • Moderator Emeritus

About supplements, many people find omega 3 and/or magnesium helpful:

Omega-3 fatty acids (fish oil).

Magnesium, nature's calcium channel blocker.

If you want to try them, start with ONE at a low dose and increase slowly. The point of starting only one is so that if you have a negative reaction, you know what's causing it. If you start with multiple supplements and have a reaction, it's quite a tangle to sort out.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.
1997-1999 Effexor; 2002-2005 Effexor XR 37.5 mg linear taper, dropping same #beads/week with bad results

Cymbalta 60 mg 2012 - 2015; 2016: 20 mg to 7 mg exact doses and dates in this post; 2017: 6.3 mg to  0.0 mg  Aug. 12; details here

scallywag's Introduction
Online spreadsheet for dose taper calculations and nz11's THE WORKS spreadsheet

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  • 5 months later...

8 month update:

I took SAM-E for 4 weeks (400mg/day) and it has ruined my life. I only started taking it because I had a very low grade depression. I just wanted a small boost in my mood and didn't think I needed or wanted a prescription antidepressant. After taking it for a month I ran out and three days later I began to feel very lightheaded 24/7, it never went away. My depression got worse then it had ever been and I was now experiencing bad anxiety. I was very concerned because I have never had any kind of medical issues in the past.


I went to the doctor to have blood work done and they found nothing wrong. I even told the doctors that my symptoms began three days after cold turkey stop of SAM-E and he said that couldn't possibly be the problem. Since the doctors were no help what so ever I started doing TONS of research online and I eventually discovered that I was most likely experiencing protracted withdrawl from the SAM-E. I realize that everyone is different and some people can take SAM-E with no issues but for unlucky people like me it can ruin your life.


Here it is 8 months later and I am still lightheaded 24/7 and the anxiety has not gone away either. The depression has gone away but I had to completely overhaul my life style. I quit drinking alcohol, I quit all caffeine, started exercising a lot and I am eating very healthy, taking magnesium and omega 3 supplements.


Research suggests that eventually my neurotransmitters will be restored to their pre SAM-E state but protracted withdrawl can (in the most severe cases) last several years. I wish I had never heard of SAM-E!!!      BE CAREFUL WHAT PILLS YOU TAKE!!!!


All of the research I have done I keep seeing that meditation is scientifically proven to improve mental health. I have always been extremely skeptical of this however I have become so desperate that I recently started meditating for 15 minutes, three times a day. it's too early to determine if it's working but time will tell.


Oh, and I finally met with a psychiatrist. She was no help either. I told her that I wanted to learn about my lightheadedness, anxiety and protracted withdrawl. All she did was write me a prescription for Ativan even though I told her I didn't want to take any psych drugs.


Well after doing TONS of research on Ativan I eventually filled my prescription because I was curious what it would feel like and if it would take away my symptoms. I was prescribed the lowest dose possible .25 mg. I was so nervous about taking a benzo that I even cut that pill in half to test it out. so I only took .125mg. All the medication did was make me very tired/lethargic and for the next several days my lightheadedness was much worse so I took the bottle of pills and threw them in the trash.

Edited by scallywag
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  • 3 months later...

Can somebody please tell me if I am crazy!?! My doctor didn't think my 40mg of Prozac was effective, so she wanted me to try Cymbalta. Well, I took 3 doses and was a complete insomniac. Stupidly, I quit taking everything for over a month and decided to try SAM-E. I had read wonderful things about it and thought it was somehow more "natural" or healthy.


WELL, my anxiety levels went through the roof! I was dreaming of becoming a shut-in and had constant diarrhea. I couldn't consult my doctor who went out of town for 3 WEEKS!!! So, I went back to the pharmacy where I still had prozac scripts open. Refilled it, stopped taking SAM-E. 


OKAY, so I only took SAM-E for about a month but I am wondering if what I am currently suffering could be a consequence or withdrawal issue. Here it goes: excruciating headaches making it difficult to move my head, coughing and sneezing make me feel like my head might explode. Radiating back pain like I'm in early stages of labor, can barely walk. Joint and nerve pain like I am catching the flu. Feeling of pins and needles running under my skin. Chills and feeling cold. Skin sensitive to touch. Basically, every ounce of my body HURTS! And I am not sure if it is cause or effect, but I broke out in a small patch of shingles across my lower back. 


Mentally I feel okay except I can't remember the right words for things. So bizarre. I haven't found anything about symptoms such as these. Can you advise? Should I go to the emergency room? Is it something other than SAM-E withdrawal?



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  • ChessieCat changed the title to mattom75: SAM-E withdrawal symptoms
  • Moderator Emeritus

Hi mattom,


Please create a drug signature following the preferred format explained below.  Once we know your drug history we will be better able to offer you suggestions about your individual situation  Thank you.


A request: Would you summarize your history in a signature - ALL drugs, doses, dates, and discontinuations & reinstatements, in the last 12-24 months particularly?

  • Please leave out symptoms and diagnoses.
  • A list is easier to understand than one or multiple paragraphs. 
  • Any drugs prior to 24 months ago can just be listed with start and stop years.
  • Please use actual dates or approximate dates (mid-June, Late October) rather than relative time frames (last week, 3 months ago)
  • Spell out months, e.g. "October" or "Oct."; 9/1/2016 can be interpreted as Jan. 9, 2016 or Sept. 1, 2016.
  • Link to Account Settings – Create or Edit a signature.


MISSION ACCOMPLISHED:  (6 year taper)      0mg Pristiq  on 13th November 2021

ADs since ~1992:  25+ years - 1 unknown, Prozac (muscle weakness), Zoloft; citalopram (pooped out) CTed (very sick for 2.5 wks a few months after); Pristiq:  50mg 2012, 100mg beg 2013 (Serotonin Toxicity)  Tapering from Oct 2015 - 13 Nov 2021   LAST DOSE 0.0025mg

Post 0 updates start here    My tapering program     My Intro (goes to tapering graph)

 VIDEO:   Antidepressant Withdrawal Syndrome and its Management

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  • 4 weeks later...


Sorry for the late reply, I haven't been logging on to this site very often.

Sounds like you are having withdrawal symptoms. Its probably from discontinuing both the Prozac and Sam e without tapering. The symptoms are no fun but apparently they go away eventually.

I'm have been off Sam e 13 months and I still have no improvement with my lightheadedness. It remains 24/7. The anxiety seems to be slightly better but I'm still not nearly as calm as I was before Sam e. I'm just taking life one day at a time and trying to ride this thing out. I'm really hoping that I'm not one of The unfortunate few who's symptoms last for many years or (even worse) become permanent. 

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