US approves skin patch to treat depression

Federal regulators approved the first anti-depressant skin patch today, providing a different way to administer a drug already used by Parkinson’s disease patients.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the selegiline transdermal patch, agency spokeswoman Susan Cruzan said. The drug belongs to a class of medicines that is rarely a first or even second choice to treat depression.

It will be marketed as Emsam, said Somerset Pharmaceuticals Inc., which developed the drug, and Bristol-Myers Squib Co., which will market it.

The FDA will require the drug to bear a so-called “black-box” warning of the risks of suicidal thoughts and behaviours in children and adolescents treated with anti-depressants. The drug is meant for use only by adults.

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