Emsam is a medication that belongs to the class of drugs known as monoamine oxidase inhibitors (MAOIs). It is primarily used in the treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD) in adults. The active ingredient in Emsam is selegiline, which works by increasing the levels of certain chemicals in the brain that help improve mood and reduce depressive symptoms.
Emsam is available as a transdermal patch, which is applied to the skin and delivers a continuous dose of medication over a 24-hour period. It is the first and only transdermal patch that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of MDD.
The dosage of Emsam may vary depending on the individual’s age, medical condition, and response to treatment. It is important to follow the prescribed dosage and directions provided by a healthcare professional.
Emsam should not be taken by individuals who have a known allergy or hypersensitivity to selegiline or any other components of the medication. It is also contraindicated in individuals who are currently taking or have recently taken other medications that are classified as MAOIs. The combination of these medications can lead to a serious and potentially life-threatening reaction known as serotonin syndrome.
Additionally, Emsam should not be used concurrently with certain medications, such as certain antidepressants, opioids, sympathomimetics, and stimulants. This is due to the risk of drug interactions that can result in serotonin syndrome or hypertensive crisis.
It is important to inform a healthcare professional of all current medications, including over-the-counter drugs and herbal supplements, prior to starting Emsam treatment to minimize the risk of adverse reactions.
Potential Side Effects
Like any medication, Emsam can cause some side effects. The most commonly reported side effects include patch site reactions such as redness, itching, and irritation. Other common side effects include headache, insomnia, dizziness, nausea, and diarrhea.
Less frequently, Emsam may cause more serious side effects such as hypertensive crisis, which is characterized by a sudden and severe increase in blood pressure. Symptoms of hypertensive crisis may include severe headache, blurred vision, chest pain, shortness of breath, and seizures. Immediate medical attention should be sought if these symptoms occur.
Emsam may also increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behaviors, especially in individuals under the age of 25. Close monitoring is necessary during the initial weeks of treatment or when there is a change in dosage.
How to Take It
Emsam should be applied to clean, dry, and hairless skin on the upper torso or on the outer part of the upper arm. The patch should not be applied to broken or irritated skin. It is important to rotate the application site with each new patch to minimize the risk of skin reactions.
The patch should be pressed firmly into place and should be worn continuously for 24 hours. It should not be cut or divided. After 24 hours, the patch should be removed and a new patch should be applied to a different area of skin following the same instructions.
If a dose is missed, the patch should be applied as soon as possible. However, if it is close to the time for the next dose, the missed dose should be skipped and the regular dosing schedule should be resumed. It is important not to apply more than one patch at a time to make up for a missed dose.
In cases of overdose, it is essential to seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of overdose may include severe headache, high blood pressure, rapid heartbeat, hallucinations, and seizures.
Emsam can interact with a variety of medications, including other antidepressants, opioids, certain antibiotics, decongestants, and herbal supplements. These interactions can increase the risk of serotonin syndrome or hypertensive crisis.
It is important to inform a healthcare professional about all current medications and herbal supplements prior to starting Emsam treatment. The dosages of medications may need to be adjusted or alternative treatment options may need to be considered to minimize the risk of drug interactions.
Emsam: Inquiry and Response
Q: Can Emsam be used in pediatric patients?
A: Emsam has not been evaluated for safety and efficacy in pediatric patients. It is only approved for use in adults.
Q: Can Emsam be used during pregnancy?
A: The safety of Emsam during pregnancy has not been established. It should only be used if the potential benefits outweigh the potential risks.
Q: Can Emsam cause weight gain?
A: Weight gain is not a commonly reported side effect of Emsam. However, individual responses to medication can vary.
Q: How long does it take for Emsam to start working?
A: The onset of action of Emsam may take several weeks. It is important to continue taking the medication as prescribed, even if there is no immediate improvement in symptoms.
Q: Can Emsam be used with alcohol?
A: Consumption of alcohol should be avoided while taking Emsam. Alcohol can increase the risk of side effects and may potentiate the effects of the medication.