Depression Treatment Maoi Patch

People with depression feel its effects on a daily basis. Constant feelings of sadness and hopelessness may last for weeks, or even months without treatment. Depression is a mental illness, and just like a physical illness, it won’t clear up on its own. Doctors often recommend antidepressant drugs to ease symptoms of depression.

One new treatment for depression is a transdermal skin patch. This patch for depression is an MAOI, or monoamine oxidase inhibitor. Traditional MAOI antidepressant drugs are an effective treatment for depression, although they have severe side effects. The patch for depression appears to deliver many benefits of traditional MAOI antidepressant drugs, without these side effects.

How Does a Transdermal Skin Patch Work?

MAOI antidepressant drugs boost levels of three neurotransmitters in the brain: dopamine, norepinephrine and serotonin.

Low levels of these three neurotransmitters, or monoamines, are associated with depression and other mood disorders, such as anxiety and post-traumatic stress disorder.

Unlike traditional MAOI antidepressant drugs taken in pill form, a transdermal skin patch is worn on the skin 24 hours a day. The patch for depression introduces antidepressant drugs directly into the bloodstream. As of 2010, this treatment for depression is available in three dosages: 6 mg, 9 mg and 12 mg.

Pros and Cons of the Patch for Depression

The biggest benefit of the patch for depression is that it offers all the benefits of MAOI antidepressant drugs, with none of the side effects. MAOI drugs are often successful at treating depression, even when other treatments have failed. They are rarely the first choice of doctors, as the following severe side effects may occur:

  • Headache
  • Insomnia
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Sexual dysfunction.

In addition, traditional MAOI drugs may lead to increased levels of tyramine in the brain. If a person taking a traditional MAOI antidepressant eats a tyramine-rich food, such as aged cheese or smoked meat, the sudden surge of this chemical can cause a rapid — and potentially fatal — increase in blood pressure. For this reason, someone on this treatment for depression must follow a strict diet.

How Is the Patch for Depression Different?

Unlike traditional MAOIs, the medicine in the patch enters the bloodstream through the skin and bypasses the digestive tract. Anyone using a transdermal skin patch with the minimum dosage (6 mg) shouldn’t need to make any dietary changes. While using a patch with a higher dosage, however, you should follow dietary restrictions for your own safety.

The patch for depression appears to cause minimal side effects, including skin irritation at the application site and minor sexual side effects. Since the transdermal skin patch is a new treatment for depression, other side effects and issues may come to light as research continues.


Clark, A. S. (2006). FDA approves patch for depression. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from

Medicine 2 Life. (2010). Novel, FDA-approved transdermal skin patch EMSAM to treat depression. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from

Thase, M. (2010). MAOI patch for depression. Retrieved June 8, 2010, from