If you have depression or schizophrenia, a healthcare provider may prescribe Deplin. Using this vitamin in combination with antidepressants and antipsychotics can help improve the effectiveness of the medications. Because it contains the active form of folic acid, Deplin can increase certain brain chemicals that become low in people with depression and decrease certain amino acids that become elevated in people with schizophrenia.
What Is Deplin Used For?Deplin® is a prescription vitamin that contains L-methylfolate, which is the active form of folate in the body. It is approved for use as a nutritional supplement in people with:
- Major depressive disorder who have low folate levels
- Schizophrenia who have, or are at risk for, high blood levels of homocysteine (medically called hyperhomocysteinemia).
Deplin should be prescribed in combination with an antidepressant or antipsychotic, under the supervision of a healthcare provider. It is considered a "medical food." Medical foods are products that are designed to help manage certain medical conditions with specific dietary needs.
Using Deplin for Major Depressive DisorderMajor depressive disorder, sometimes called major depression or clinical depression, is a serious illness. It is not the same thing as a passing low mood, or feeling sad or down in the dumps. Major depression interferes with a person's ability to function by affecting their mood, thoughts, and physical health. Oftentimes, people with major depression find it difficult to do the things they normally did before they were depressed.
Common symptoms of major depression include the following:
- A persistent sad, anxious, or "empty" mood
- Feelings of hopelessness and pessimism
- Feelings of guilt, worthlessness, and helplessness
- Loss of interest or pleasure in activities that used to be enjoyable
- Low energy or fatigue
- Problems concentrating
- Changes in sleep
- Changes in appetite
- Feeling irritable or restless
- Thoughts of death or suicide
- Physical symptoms, such as headaches or pain.
There are many treatment options for depression (see Depression Treatment). Medications used to treat depression are called antidepressants. Deplin is not an antidepressant. It is a nutritional supplement that may help improve a person's response to the antidepressant medicine.
It can take several weeks for antidepressants to begin working, and may even take several months for the full benefits to be felt. Deplin may help antidepressants work faster. Some people may notice improvement within one or two weeks; however, full effects may still take four to six weeks, or sometimes longer. Talk to your healthcare provider openly about your symptoms, so he or she can determine whether your depression medicines are right for you.
Neither Deplin nor antidepressant medicines cure depression. For some people, depression is an ongoing, and even sometimes lifelong, illness. Therefore, you may need to continue your antidepressant and Deplin even if you do not feel depressed any longer. Your healthcare provider will work with you to determine how long you need to take your depression medication.