Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Depression - Can You Change Your Genes?

At a recent appointment with a new psychiatrist, I was introduced to a new kind of drug to deal with depression. It's not any of the usual suspects (SSRI, SNRI, MAOI Inhibitor, etc) and I think it makes a lot of sense.

As anyone with depression probably knows, our brain chemistry is screwed up. We've got neurotransmitters, but we're either not using them efficiently or their levels are imbalanced

According to the scientists behind the drug Deplin, our body breaks folic acid down to a type of compound that helps balance the levels of our neurotransmitters. Furthermore, they claim that many of us with depression have a specific genetic factor that messes up our ability to break down folic acid into the compound that we need to do this.

So, if our body can't break it down for us, then why not just take that compound to make up for it? That's the idea behind L-Methylfolate. You can get the generic version or go with the brand Deplin. Either way, it helps to increase our body's natural balancing of neurotransmitters. When taken with antidepressants, it has been shown to help alleviate symptoms more than the use of antidepressants alone.

Now, before you go running out to your doctor and asking for it, take a moment to talk to your insurance. Many insurance companies view L-Methylfolate as a vitamin or supplement and will not help cover any of the cost. The pamphlet my doctor gave me included a savings card for me to show at the pharmacy. Pro - It saved me a few bucks off of the Brand name, making it cheaper than going with the generic. Con - Not all pharmacies accept the discount card.

I've only been taking for about two weeks, so I can't speak yet to it's effectiveness, but I think it's worth a try. I believe that I'm genetically pre-disposed to depression, so, if my genes mean that I can't break down chemicals correctly, then I'll just get them a different way!

If you have any experience with this drug, please share your experiences!


  1. I've never heard of this, how interesting. Hope it works for you!

  2. Hi, I work with Deplin. This is a great post. You are correct, approximately 70% of depressed patients have MTFR, which inhibits your ability to convert folic acid into L-methylfolate. It seems that you have done a great deal of research but you may find more helpful information at http://www.deplin.com/.

    There is no generic for Deplin. Deplin 7.5mg and 15mg scored tablets costs about $80/month, depending on the pharmacy, but are now available at a guaranteed price of $65 for a 30 day supply through a pharmacy called Brand Direct Health. Your doctor can fax a prescription to BDH at (985) 249-2814. The pharmacy contact info is:
    http://branddirecthealth.com/ or (866) 331-6440 ext. 1

    I hope Deplin helps you.

  3. Susan - Very interesting. My pharmacy and I had this whole big problem where they filled my Rx with the generic but the PamLab discount card would only work if I bought the brand name. So, they literally had to go in the back and give me different pills so I could use the coupon. I wonder what pills they were going to give me instead.

  4. I've been taking a generic of Deplin for 6 months. I've found it makes me feel better and gives me more energy. I'm 76 and have had to deal with depression since I was a young girl. I've taken so many different anti-depressants since then...even the old fashioned ones that made me feel like a zombie!! I take a generic Deplin now with my anti-depressant, Effexor. My doctor told me about Brand Direct Health Pharmacy. I just ordered my Deplin for the first time from this pharmacy, no generic, and only paid $144.00 for a 3 month supply. No postage. You might like to check the web site of Brand Direct Health Pharmacy. I have never before reccomended anything...but this I felt strongly about since I too have suffered from Depression and know how desperate one can feel with this awful condition. Good Luck....