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The first MAOI transdermal patch named Emsam was developed by Somerset Pharmaceuticals. The FDA Approved the patch in 6, 9, and 12 mg doses that will be delivered transdermally over 24 hours. The patch consists of three layers, which include backing, adhesive drug layer, and a release liner that is placed against the skin.

Although oral MAO inhibitors trigger spikes in blood pressure when mixed with certain foods, 6 mg patch will have no foods restrictions.

The safety and efficiency of the patch for treatment of major depressive disorder has been shown in both short and long-term studies. Although 6 mg patch will be used without any food limitation, it is not known with certainty if 9 and 12 mg will have any limitations. There still isn’t enough data about the interactions.

Like any other drug, the patch carries some of the side effects as well. Mild skin reactions were reported on parts of skin when patches were placed, and mild light-headedness due to hypotension was also reported.
It has been shown that heat could increase the amount of drug released into the skin, so heat exposure should be limited and all activities that consider heat exposure should be avoided. Heat exposure include heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, or prolonged sunlight.

Another possible skin reaction could be attributed to the patch removal where redness and itchiness have been reported in certain cases. There is a possibility of increased suicidality in children and adolescents like with any other approved antidepressants.


I am now curious if anyone you know is taking these and how they are working? I have a family member that has GI issues and the less medications that pass through her colon the better. Any thoughts?