Emsam, the brand name for its generic counterpart selegiline, is an antidepressant used to treat major depressive disorder. Emsam is used as a patch for the skin, and the patch continuously releases selegiline into the body, helping to regulate missing neurotransmitters, like dopamine and serotonin, in the brain. Selegiline is known as an MAO (monoamine oxidase) inhibitor, because of its prevention of neurotransmitter breakdowns.
Emsam is the only antidepressant used as a patch, with the hopes of easing the unpleasant side effects that come with antidepressants. It was first approved by the FDA in 2006. It is typically used on adults and children over the age of 12. According to the U.S. National Institutes of Health’s National Library of Medicine, MAO Inhibitors are more effective than tricyclic antidepressants for treating depression, although MAO Inhibitors are less common.
It is important to carefully follow directions given by your healthcare provider. Closely read and follow all the directions on the prescription label.
Selegiline patches should be applied to clean skin with no hair. Emsam patches should be placed on the outside of the upper arm, alternatively, they may be applied to the chest, back or thigh. It is important to wash your hands after handling selegiline patches and to place the patch in a different location.
Typically, Emsam is prescribed in 6 mg to start and should be kept on the skin for 24 hours before removal and replacement. Selegiline patches may be worn while bathing or swimming. If a patch falls off, firmly press the patch back into place. If the Emsam patch will not stay on, replace it with a new one for the remainder of the wearing time. Never wear more than one patch at a time.
Common side effects of Emsam patches include dizziness, drowsiness, dry mouth, sleep problems, and irritation of the skin where the patch was used. One may experience increased or worsened suicidal thoughts while using selegiline. If any serious side effects occur, such as muscle stiffness, confusion, major mood changes, fainting, vomiting, or vision problems, contact a healthcare provider immediately.
Several types of medications and foods may cause high blood pressure while taking Emsam, although this is rare. One must disclose all previously taken medications as well as their medical history to avoid any serious interactions.
If any side effects from selegiline occur, serious or minor, be sure to notify your doctor.
Selegiline patches have less of a risk for substance use disorder and withdrawal than selegiline tablets. While taking Emsam patches, one may experience mood swings due to the adjustment and rebalancing of neurotransmitters.
Overdose is possible when using selegiline patches. Symptoms of overindulgence usually happen within 12 hours after use and can last anywhere from 24 to 48 hours. Symptoms include hallucinations, trouble breathing, severe headaches and passing out.
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It is important to continue taking Emsam until the prescription reaches its end. Stopping Emsam abruptly can worsen depression and increase suicidal thoughts. Mood changes may occur after using selegiline.
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