Medication Monday: Selegiline

We’ve once again come to another installment of Medication Monday, the weekly series that looks at some of the mental health medications available. This week, we are looking at Selegiline, a medication that is primarily used to treat Parkinson’s disease, but transdermal (applied to the skin, often using a transdermal patch, Nicoderm patches are another example) application has received FDA approval for treatment of major depressive disorder (MDD).

While selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), which are featured frequently in this series, are still considered first-line treatment for MDD, some cases are resistant to SSRIs and other common treatments and require a slightly different approach, and Selegiline is such an option. 

Selegiline is an enzyme inhibitor specifically known as a monoamine oxidase inhibitor (MAOI) that reduces the breakdown of certain neurotransmitters, such as dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin. In Parkinson’s patients, it reduces certain symptoms of Parkinson’s such as depression but has shown clinical success at treating depression when applied transdermally or orally.

When applied transdermally, which is the method focused on by my research, Selegiline showed some potential side effects that users should know about. These include application site reaction, diarrhea, dyspepsia, dry mouth, headache, insomnia, pharyngitis, and sinusitis

Users who have concerns about any of these possible side effects should talk to their doctor. As always, I would like to remind my readers that Medication Monday is not meant as a substitute for medical advice, but merely as a brief informative introduction to mental health medications. The goal is to help those who battle mental illness be more informed when talking with their health care professional while also hopefully destigmatizing the use of mental health medication. As such, I hope this post has helped.

And until next time, thanks for reading.

Source: Transdermal selegiline for the treatment of major depressive disorder, Lee et. al., (2007).

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