Emsam was released a few years ago as transdermal patch for the treatment of depression. Emsam is Selegeline. Selegeline is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) used in the treatment of Parkinson’s disease and has been around for more than a decade.
It was observed that many parkinsonian patients who were treated with selegeline had improved mood and spirits. Further work revealed that selegeline did improve mood in patients with depression.
Monoamine oxidase inhibitors have been used to treat depression for more than half a century and are some of the oldest drugs in the pharmacopeia. While the drugs are effective, the major problem with MAOI is that people have severe dietary restrictions otherwise complications can occur. However, with Emsam, the drug is delivered via the skin and the same type of dietary restrictions are not needed (esp at the low dose).
Emsam is slow absorbed through the skin and enters the brain where it does work in depressed patients. The biggest advantage of Emsam is that because it does not go via the stomach and avoids the liver, it has a very low risk of inducing problems which were previously seen with older MAOI. The risk of high blood pressure with this formulation is less than 1 percent.
Emsam is usually applied as patch on the skin. When the 6 mg patch is applied every 24 hours there are no dietary restrictions. The drug is slowly absorbed through the skin continuously for 24 hours and this keeps level of Emsam fairly constant thought out the day.