Saturday, May 03, 2008


see also Deplin Testimonial for a report on Deplin from a patient with multiple sclerosis

The PamLab drug rep is moderately annoying. I hate to think that the messenger would affect my interest in the message, but, alas, it did for months. He finally staged a lunch 'n learn,* but also, much more importantly, he brought in an article by Dr. Stephen Stahl that caught my attention big-time.

Dr. Stahl is Dr. Psychopharmocology. He literally wrote "The Book" also known as Essential Psychopharmocology. If ever you suspected that the use of psychoactive drugs is a lot of baseless hooey, check out this tome.

Unfortunately, this world is a fast-paced one that demands more attention, energy, and multi-tasking than many can manage. As a result, there's a lot of overwhelm and depression going around. One could only wish that antidepressants were unnecessary, but a lot of people struggle to get a grip on their mood while being bombarded with the pressures of modern life. As a result, these drugs can be lifesavers, or at least change surviving into thriving.

That said, antidepressant medications aren't perfect. In many cases, some relief is obtained, but it's either not enough or marred by the side effects of the drugs. So patients find themselves limping along with ongoing fatigue, inertia, decreased concentration, or other symptoms that impair their quality of life.

The search continues, therefore, for 'augmenting agents' that improve response to antidepressants. Enter Deplin, billed as a 'medical food' which falls somewhere between food and drugs per the Food and Drug Administration who will soon need to change their name to the Food, Medical Food, and Drug Administration. Per them, Deplin aka L-methylfolate--an active form of folate--is so classified because it is:

...intended for the specific dietary management of a disease or condition for which distinctive nutritional requirements, based on recognized scientific principles, are established by medical evaluation.(1)

Now how good is this?!? A new drug, er medical food, that's a glorified vitamin, that has great science behind it for the treatment of depression which is at least half my practice. And being a child of the '60s, always willing to pop a pill to alter mood, I've tried this product myself, and I'm impressed with the results after just a few days of use. But this post is long enough, check out methylfolate and depression for more information on how Deplin works.
*And lunch was a Subway sandwich on a stale roll and a liter of Diet Pepsi. After the luncheon, he left but hurried back in to grab the leftover pop. So don't think he bought my interest with a fancy meal!
(1)Food and Drug Administration/Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition. Food Safety and Applied Nutrition, Medical Foods. Available at:


JeanMac said...

Such an interesting post - when I read the luncheon note, I dwelled on his doing that more than the content of your post(sorry). How to make an impression - your original dislike appears to be well founded.

Anonymous said...

is deplin okay for kids?

femail doc said...

Anon: I don't know. It's a pretty big dose, although it should be non-toxic. Better ask your pediatrician.

'Lil Red said...

So why is this only available via Rx if it's 'just a vitamin'?

Anonymous said...

Any research about Deplin WITHOUT antidepressants as a treatment for some MS symptoms--neuropathy--cognitive--energy--etc.?

femail doc said...

Lil Red: The dose is quite hefty, I guess the FDA judged that too high for OTC judgment.

Anon: I have two patients with MS on Deplin without antidepressants; the effect on their fatigue levels is notable. I mentioned it to the PamLab rep who did not report any specific research to support this but there is other anecdotal evidence to support this use of the product.

Anonymous said...

Deplin is not tested or approved for children.

Michael Ditto said...

It makes an almost immediate difference for me, just a day or two. And when I run out, I notice the difference just as quickly. I wish it were covered by insurance, I just can't afford it!