Emsam and TyramineThere 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, Emsam 6 mg) has little effect on digestive monoamine oxidase, since it is absorbed into the skin through a patch. However, higher Emsam 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).
Emsam Use in Children and TeensEmsam is not recommended for use in people less than 18 years old, as it has not been thoroughly studied in children or teens. Antidepressants have been shown to increase the risk of suicidal thoughts and behavior in short-term research studies involving children and teenagers (see Emsam and Suicide for more information on the risks of suicide with Emsam). Talk with your healthcare provider about treatment options for childhood or teen depression.
Children under the age of 12 years old should never take Emsam under any circumstances. Even the smallest available Emsam dose is too high for such children, and dangerous side effects could occur.
Off-Label Emsam UsesOn occasion, your healthcare provider may recommend Emsam for something other than depression. This is called an "off-label" use. At this time, there are no universally accepted off-label Emsam uses, probably because Emsam is a fairly new medication. Because the active ingredient of Emsam (selegiline) has been used for many years in an oral form to treat Parkinson's disease, it might be expected that Emsam could be used "off-label" as a treatment for Parkinson's disease.