Emsam and Tyramine

There are also monoamine oxidase enzymes (particularly MAO-A) in the digestive tract, and these enzymes are responsible for breaking down tyramine, a naturally occurring chemical (found in many foods and beverages) that affects blood pressure. MAOI medications stop the body's ability to break down tyramine and can cause a person's tyramine levels to become too high, which can be extremely dangerous.
While most MAOIs block the action of monoamine oxidase in the digestive tract, because they are taken by mouth, Emsam (when used at the lowest dose) has little effect on digestive monoamine oxidase, since it is absorbed into the skin through a patch. However, higher doses may be more likely to interact with tyramine-rich foods. Because tyramine is found in many foods and beverages, people taking higher doses of Emsam must follow a strict diet (see Emsam Food Interactions for more information).

Effects of Emsam

Studies have shown Emsam to be effective for depression treatment in adults. In these studies, people who took the drug showed more improvement in depression symptoms than people who were not taking it. Also, long-term studies have shown that fewer people taking Emsam have a depression relapse, compared with people not taking it.

When and How to Take It

Some considerations for when and how to take Emsam include the following:
  • Emsam comes as a skin patch. It is applied once a day.
  • It is important to place the patch on clean, dry skin on the upper torso (below the neck and above the waist), upper thigh, or outer arm. Make sure to rotate where you place the patch. Do not use the same place each day.
  • You should apply your patch at the same time each day to maintain an even level of the medication in your blood. Do not forget to take the old patch off when you put on the new one.
  • For Emsam to work properly, you have to use it as prescribed. The medication will not work if you stop using it.
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Emsam Patch

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