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Burf: going off SAM-E


Burf

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I know this topic is old but I was wondering if you got any resolution to coming off of Sam-E.  I've been taking it for about 4 yrs and starting tapering about 3 months ago. First I was taking the 400mg pills, then 200mg, then 100, and then I started skipping days for about 2 or 3 weeks and stopped altogether.  After about 4 days the symptoms hit me hard.  All the classic SSRI withdrawal symptoms; headaches, nausea, brain zaps, achy and restless legs, and extreme anxiety & depression.  I went out and bought a bottle of Sam-E, took one and felt better within a half hour.  Now I'm not really sure how to go about tapering because as mentioned the pills are enteric coated which makes it hard or impossible to cut them, and I'll have to look if there are other formulations of it available.  To be honest I'm a little angry that this product, which isn't FDA approved, is readily available on the shelf of any drugstore.  Any advice would be appreciated, thanks!

2011-Started taking over the counter Sam-E.

10/2015-Did an improvised taper off Sam-E for a couple months, stopped taking it and had extreme symptoms 3-4 days later.  Now trying to figure out how to properly taper off of it.

1/2015-Prescribed 20mg of Valium for anxiety, been liquid tapering off it since 6/2015 after I started getting bad side effects.

 

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Hi Burf, I'm one of the Sam-e withdrawal folks here, and about at the five year mark now and I'm about 90 percent recovered. My anxiety level is generally higher than it was before, and insomnia affects me here and there, but the withdrawal stuff hung on a long, long time. The one thing I can say definitely helped overall was eliminating any and all alcohol or caffeine and getting hard, aerobic, regular exercise. I never tried going back on to taper, I just pushed through. It was really bad a few years that felt like it was forever, but I've pretty much made it. You will to, I promise! The twitches go away entirely, the headaches lift eventually, your mood clears up, anxiety comes down, and life goes on... Slowly but it does. Try to be patient, and otherwise eliminate as much stress from your life as you can. This is a wonderful community to lean on during your difficult time.

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Thanks for the reply Romido.  I'm pretty sure I came across your original post about withdrawaling off of Sam-E.  Most people don't think it's possible but I was going through hell the other day and after taking another Sam-E pill I felt better within an hour.  How long were you on it?  I can't believe the recovery time is that long for this stuff!  I reinstated back to 100mg a day for now until I can figure something else out.  I saw on Amazon that there is a liquid formula so you can dish out a smaller dose.  Other than that I don't know what to do. I hear skipping days isn't a really good idea because the half life is so short.  It's been really discouraging realizing I'm hooked on this stuff because I'm also tapering off of Valium, and take Suboxone (an opiate) everyday.  Sure hope there's some more people out there that have been through this and can help out.  

2011-Started taking over the counter Sam-E.

10/2015-Did an improvised taper off Sam-E for a couple months, stopped taking it and had extreme symptoms 3-4 days later.  Now trying to figure out how to properly taper off of it.

1/2015-Prescribed 20mg of Valium for anxiety, been liquid tapering off it since 6/2015 after I started getting bad side effects.

 

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Hey Burf,

 

I just read your story. I unfortunately took a supplement called 5HTP. I consider it more of a drug than anything expect for the fact that I can go to any drugstore and buy 5htp without a prescription. I took 5htp for about 3 years. My last pill of this stuff was on Nov 26, 2012. I am still suffering the effects of this stuff. Mainly tension, headaches, PSSD and frequent urination. Some things have improved but at almost 3 years off it hasn't improved as much as I had hoped. Especially the sexual dysfunction part. I've had anxiety and depression all my life. I've taken SSRI's in the past before such as paxil and wellbutrin. I never took them for more than a year at a time(from what I remember) and never had any major withdrawal problems from taking Paxil and Wellbutrin especially not sexual dysfunction. The reason I started taking 5htp was because I thought it was a safe and natural alternative to taking drugs such as Wellbutrin or Paxil. But I was extremely wrong. Most websites say 5htp is safe, however I really had to search and dig on the internet to find the side effects of 5htp and was shocked, I wish I would have searched for the side effects before I started taking it. I stopped taking 5htp cold turkey on Nov 26,2012. I do not take any other pills or supplements except for magnesium on occasion to help me with my headaches. I'm 33 years old.

 

I still hope to recover someday soon. I don't know when. I just wanted to offer you my support in anyway I could. Romido recovered from SAM-e. When I recover from 5HTP i'll definitely write a success story.

I hope you get well and recover from this crap.

 

Good luck to you.

 

I guess it's a good lesson for everyone to be careful when taking pills such as SAM-e, 5htp and ST.John's wort.

 

Sorry if I highjacked your thread nightsky

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  • Administrator

Welcome, Burf.

 

I moved your posts to start an Introductions topic for you. Please put your questions and updates here.

 

Romido is, indeed, our SAM-E tapering expert. Thank you for your response, Romido.

 

Burf, please let us know how you're doing.

This is not medical advice. Discuss any decisions about your medical care with a knowledgeable medical practitioner.

"It has become appallingly obvious that our technology has surpassed our humanity." -- Albert Einstein

All postings © copyrighted.

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Thanks for moving my post to a better spot!  Johnson, I'm always curious to hear everybody's story.  Not only can you usually find something to relate to, but you can also get schooled on thinngs you didn't know about.  For instance I read on another website that 5-Htp can help with the withdrawal of Sam-E or SSRI's, so now that I've read your experience I'll stay far away from it.  I've had problems with other medications in the past, but I sort of knew what I was getting into with them and took them anyway since they were addictive (opiates, benzos).  With this over the counter stuff I feel completely betrayed and livid at the FDA for not researching it more.  Not only is there the fact that you don't know what you're getting into, but there's also no protocol or research on how to get off of the stuff.  It's kind of discouraging to hear that you guys are suffering for years after taking these "safe" over the counter supplements.  I guess the only thing to do though is taper down and be grateful for any improvement that shows up.  I'm 35 yrs old so I guess in a way I'm glad I'm not going through this at an older age and still have lots of quality years ahead of me, but at the same time sometimes I get mad that some of my prime years have been lost to all these medications.  Hope you keep healing and feel free to check back anytime.

2011-Started taking over the counter Sam-E.

10/2015-Did an improvised taper off Sam-E for a couple months, stopped taking it and had extreme symptoms 3-4 days later.  Now trying to figure out how to properly taper off of it.

1/2015-Prescribed 20mg of Valium for anxiety, been liquid tapering off it since 6/2015 after I started getting bad side effects.

 

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  • 5 months later...

Hi Burf, are you still experiencing withdrawal from Sam-e? I am currently experiencing withdrawal effects from it.Here's my story: 2 days after discontinuation of 800 MG of Sam-E taken over the course of 2 and a half months with a 3 week wean I started experiencing the following symptoms hallucinations in the side of my vision, blurred vision, severe dizziness, fatigue. I have continued to have these symptoms the last 4 weeks along with severe cognitive function(misspelling words, reversing letters, slurred speech, trouble with word finding). I have also had perceptual disturbances(for instance, when I'm switching lanes I get a feeling like I'm going to fall over a cliff.) Also experiencing joint pain and pins and needles in my face, hands, feet and toes. I had a brain MRI, blood work and an exam by a neurologist and my tests are completely normal. Each day the symptoms can change however, the dizziness remains all of the time. I feel like I'm dying.

I hope to be in touch with you soon!

Prozac 9/2015-1/2016 - Caused depression. Withdrawal symptoms - joint pain, fatigue, off balance, blurred vision, perceptual disturbances. 1 month taper.

Sam-E 1/2016- 3/2016 - Withdrawal symptoms - pins and needles in face, arms, hands, legs, feet. Joint pain and muscle twitching. Depersonalization. Brain fog and severe cognitive thinking issues(reversing the spelling of words), slowed reaction time. Hallucinations from the sides of my eyes, blurred vision. Feeling like I'm going to fall off a cliff. Fatigue, flu- like symptoms, Brain shivers. 3 week taper.

 

Had Brain MRI 4/5/16- Completely Normal

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  • 2 years later...

I haven't been on here in a while but wanted to give a little update. What happened with me is I kept taking Sam-E since I posted about it because I was tapering Valium and Suboxone at the same time.  Then a little over a month ago I decided to really try and get off of it so I started alternating days of taking it and not since you can't cut the pills because they're enteric coated.  I felt some withdrawal symptoms but they weren't too bad.  Then a couple weeks ago I made the leap and stopped taking it altogether.  Around day 3 I started to notice anxiety, nausea and a bloated stomach, achiness, sweating, and a constant horrible headache that would not go away.  Finally around day 6 I couldn't handle the symptoms so I took a 100mg Sam-E pill and the symptoms completely went away within 2 hours, but it also gave me super bad anxiety which is the main thing I hear from people when they first start taking it.  So I was kind of in a tough spot having withdrawals but no wanting to take Sam-E because it gave me bad anxiety.  Now I'm on day of no Sam-E except for that one pill, and I'm feeling better than I was a few days ago but still definitely struggling.  From what I've read the withdrawal is very similar to an SSRI one which makes sense because Sam-E is needed to synthesize serotonin in your body.  The withdrawal is also almost identical to benzo withdrawal, just more mild.  It sounds like the healing is going to take awhile, but it's encouraging that I already feel a little better. 

2011-Started taking over the counter Sam-E.

10/2015-Did an improvised taper off Sam-E for a couple months, stopped taking it and had extreme symptoms 3-4 days later.  Now trying to figure out how to properly taper off of it.

1/2015-Prescribed 20mg of Valium for anxiety, been liquid tapering off it since 6/2015 after I started getting bad side effects.

 

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  • 2 months later...
On 4/17/2018 at 8:48 PM, Burf said:

It's been a while since I first posted about this so I just wanted to give a little update.  What happened with me is I kept taking Sam-E since I posted about it because I was tapering Valium and Suboxone at the same time.  Then a little over a month ago I decided to really try and get off of it so I started alternating days of taking it and not since you can't cut the pills because they're enteric coated.  I felt some withdrawal symptoms but they weren't too bad.  Then a couple weeks ago I made the leap and stopped taking it altogether.  Around day 3 I started to notice anxiety, nausea and a bloated stomach, achiness, sweating, and a constant horrible headache that would not go away.  Finally around day 6 I couldn't handle the symptoms so I took a 100mg Sam-E pill and the symptoms completely went away within 2 hours, but it also gave me super bad anxiety which is the main thing I hear from people when they first start taking it.  So I was kind of in a tough spot having withdrawals but no wanting to take Sam-E because it gave me bad anxiety.  Now I'm on day of no Sam-E except for that one pill, and I'm feeling better than I was a few days ago but still definitely struggling.  From what I've read the withdrawal is very similar to an SSRI one which makes sense because Sam-E is needed to synthesize serotonin in your body.  The withdrawal is also almost identical to benzo withdrawal, just more mild.  It sounds like the healing is going to take awhile, but it's encouraging that I already feel a little better. 

Hi Burf,

 

Are you off the SAM-e completely now and, if so, how are you doing? I've been taking 400 mg/day for about 9 months. I want to taper off of it but am very scared of a possible withdrawal nightmare like the one you described, especially since there's no way to taper very gradually. Any advice you can offer would be appreciated.

 

Thanks!

 

1996-2007 - sertraline 200 mg/day

2007-3/16 - sertraline 100 mg/day

3/16-8/16 - sertraline 75 mg/day

8/16-1/17 - sertraline 50 mg/day

1/17-8/17 - sertraline 25 mg/day, St. John's Wort 700-1250 mg/day

8/17 - Stopped sertraline and continued taking SJW. Soon after, stopped SJW and started 400 mg SAM-e/day.

2/18 - Reinstated SJW (taking sporadically)

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  • ChessieCat changed the title to Burf: going off SAM-E

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