Citation: FreeFromBlue. "What I've Been Looking For: An Experience with Selegiline, Deprenyl, PEA, phenylethylamine (ID 76042)". Erowid.org. Apr 27, 2010. erowid.org/exp/76042
Selegiline and PEA for lifelong dysthymia
I am a male in mid 50s, with 30 years experience of varying amounts of depression. At times, the diagnosis was major depression, later on, dysthymia. Over these years I have had a variety of medications and psychotherapy. When I started getting treatment, tricyclics were the standard antidepressants. I tried several over a period of years, but the severe side effects and lack of response convinced me that they would not help.
Later, when SSRIs became available, I tried several of them (Prozac, Paxil, Zoloft). I felt no substantial relief from depression with any of these, and experienced typical side effects: sexual, sleep problems, dry mouth, spaciness. Nonetheless, I took a very low dose of Zoloft for several years because it was slightly helpful.
During a more recent go round with major depression, I tried Lexapro for the first time. It helped somewhat, especially with anxiety and sleep disturbances. However, it also had enough sedative effect that I would fall asleep repeatedly during the day. My doctor added buproprion to counteract the sleepiness, but I felt that it was 'dirty', i.e., effects that were not specific to my mood disorder.
I spent some time reviewing what substances I had tried that had actually made me feel better over the years. The list was short: MDMA, and phenylalanine. BUt MDMA cannot be used daily, and phenylalanine has a short period of effect. Alcohol, cocaine, and amphetamines were not useful for mood. I also reviewed the medical literature for other vectors to treat depression. One direction looked promising: deprenyl (selegiline). In addition to anti-aging efficacy, it had good results as an antidepressant. I tried low dose (1mg) selegiline and found it was mildly helpful for mood. It has, for me, a noticable boost in memory and focus, as well as a strong increase in libido. My doctor at the time was not happy with using selegiline this way and would prefer to use the EMSAM transdermal patch for delivery. However, the mimimum dose is 6mg / day and I felt this would be way too strong for me. You cannot titrate a patch by cutting it in half!
On further research, I found that PEA, phenylethylamine, was available OTC as a supplement, and that some users found it a powerful antidepressant. So, I got a jar, and began experimenting. As soon as I found out how useful it could be, I dropped the other ADs. The combination of selegiline and PEA is based on the MAOI-B effect of the selegiline. This prevents the otherwise nearly instaneous breakdown of PEA in the body or brain. Note that both of these substances are legal in the US, with Deprenyl available by Rx. Based on others usage reports, I tried 250mg PEA 30 minutes after 1 mg selegiline. This was a major breakthrough in mood, with a strong feeling of 'this is what I've been looking for'. However, there was also flushing, sweating, and restlessness. These side effects subsided within 30 minutes, and there were no further problems. The effects are somewhat similar to a low dose of MDMA.
Subsequently, I have settled on a routine of 1mg selegiline (from liquid) placed under the tongue, and 100mg PEA in a capsule taken on an empty stomach in the morning, 20-30 minutes later. I take this combination first thing in the morning Monday to Friday, and give both a rest on weekends. During the weekends I notice that I have less energy, but my mood will remain good. This combination typically comes on as a mild buzz within 30 minutes after the PEA is taken, and the buzz lasts for 30 minutes to an hour. The rest of the day I will have a good mood, and there is no crash or letdown. I will typically drink coffee on rising, but have no interest in caffeine after the PEA kicks in. The buzz, or euphoria, is not hyper or manic- instead it feels as though I am ready to handle whatever comes up. I am sociable without becoming overtalkative.
I have followed this regimen for over six months, and have found that it is by far, the best antidepressant that I have used. The effect is not reduced over multiple days, but slightly cumulative. It is somewhat complex in dosing, based on food intake and other unknown factors. On some days there is no buzz, nonetheless, my mood will still be improved. I have noticed that blood pressure is raised temporarily, however, that can be minimised by staying active and moving during the first hour. I have also tried a second combination dose later in the day, but this can leave me too stimulated to sleep at night. Overall, this combination has been a blessing in my life. I contribute this report in hope that it may help others.
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