Drug patch approved for depression

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted March 27, 2006

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The Food and Drug Administration gave its stamp of approval last month to the first transdermal patch that delivers medication to treat major depression.

Selegiline (Emsam) is a monoamine oxidase inhibitor that, at its lowest dose, can be used without the usual dietary restrictions required to avoid hypertensive crises that can occur when this drug is taken orally.

"We believe Emsam will help physicians treat their patients living with this illness through a new and unique delivery system," said Peter R. Dolan, CEO of Bristol-Myers Squibb.

The patch will be available in forms that deliver 6, 9 or 12 milligrams over a 24-hour period, and patients on the 6-mg version do not need to change their diet. Those on higher doses need to avoid tyramine, which is found in aged cheese and tap beer.

The most common adverse events with this delivery system included mild skin reactions where the patch was applied. This drug also should not be used along with other antidepressants.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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