CLINICAL UNIT BASED RESEARCH
Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Program
J. Alexander Bodkin, MD
Investigators in the Clinical Psychopharmacology Research Program, led by J. Alexander Bodkin, MD, are continuing to direct a multisite study to test the efficacy of the first-ever skin patch delivery system for an antidepressant medication. The transdermal patch, which is similar to patches used for years to control nicotine cravings, provides an effective and safe delivery system with few side effects for the class of drugs know as monoamine oxidase (MAO) inhibitors. MAO normally works in both the digestive system and the brain. In the digestive system, it detoxifies tyramine, a potentially harmful by-product of the fermentation of proteins. Taking an MAO inhibitor antidepressant in pill form can block the protective effects of MAO in the digestive system, allowing the tyramine to reach the blood stream.
Preliminary results show positive effects on depressed individuals within one week, compared to the three-to six-week response time typical of orally administered antidepressants. In addition to its quick action, the skin patch delivery system may minimize some side effects commonly associated with standard oral administration.