S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAM-e), functions as a primary methyl group donor for several metabolic compounds. Since SAM-e is involved in several metabolic processes, its administration may have a role in the amelioration of several disorders. In addition, SAM-e increases catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) enzyme activity, which may ameliorate aggressive symptoms in certain patients. We have therefore investigated the efficacy of SAM-e in managing schizophrenia symptomatology in patients with the low activity COMT polymorphism. Eighteen patients with chronic schizophrenia were randomly assigned to receive either SAM-e (800 mg) or placebo for 8 weeks in double-blind fashion. Results indicated some reduction in aggressive behavior and improved quality of life following SAM-e administration. Female patients showed improvement of depressive symptoms. Clinical improvement did not correlate with serum SAM-e levels. Two patients receiving SAM-e exhibited some exacerbation of irritability. This preliminary pilot short-term study cautiously supports SAM-e as an adjunct in management of aggressive behavior and quality of life impairment in schizophrenia.
- S-Adenosyl-Methionine (SAM-e)