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Everyone feels sad once in a while. But if you feel sad or empty almost every day, you could have symptoms of depression. These feelings can get in the way of your daily life.

Depression is a real illness that may affect your mind and your body. It can affect your appetite, energy level, sleep patterns, the way you feel about yourself, and even the way you think about things.

This common medical illness may occur once in your life, but many people experience it more often.

FACT: Depression is believed to affect nearly 1 in 10 Americans over the age of 18.

Only your health care professional can determine whether you have depression, but this website can help you learn more about it now.

What causes it?

While the cause of depression is unknown, it is thought to involve an imbalance of brain chemicals called neurotransmitters. Neurotransmitters help your brain cells talk to each other.

In addition, brain-imaging scans have shown that the brains of people who have depression look different from those who don't. The differences are seen in parts of the brain involved in mood, thinking, sleep, appetite and behavior.

Scientists are also looking at certain genes that may make some people more likely to develop depression. In addition, trauma, loss of a loved one, or any stressful situation may trigger a depressive episode. However, depression can occur even when there is no obvious cause.

What are the symptoms?

Below are some symptoms your health care professional may ask about to decide if you have depression. Discuss symptoms that apply to you with your health care professional today.

  • Moods that are often sad, anxious, or "empty"
  • Feelings of guilt, lack of worth, or helplessness
  • Loss of interest or pleasure in hobbies and activities that you once enjoyed, including sex
  • Fatigue and decreased energy
  • Difficulty concentrating, remembering, making decisions
  • Insomnia, early-morning wakefulness, or excessive sleeping
  • Decrease in appetite and/or overeating
  • Thoughts of suicide and suicide attempts
  • Feelings of restlessness

Not everyone experiences all of these symptoms. But this list should give you an idea of what health care professionals look for to determine if you have depression. Only they are able to diagnose and treat depression.

Get the support you need

If your health care professional has diagnosed you with depression, you're not alone. There are many in-person and online support groups you can turn to for help and reassurance.

Here are some links to organizations that can help you find a support group and help you learn more about depression and treatment options:

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, talk to someone who can help.

Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) or visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.


EMSAM® — INDICATION AND IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION

EMSAM Transdermal System is a skin patch used to treat major depressive disorder.

What is the most important information I should know about EMSAM?

  • Antidepressants may increase suicidal thoughts or actions in children, teenagers and young adults
  • Depression and other serious mental illnesses are the most important causes of suicidal thoughts and actions. Pay close attention to any changes, especially sudden changes, in mood, behaviors, thoughts or feelings. This is very important when an antidepressant is started or when the dose is changed
  • Call a healthcare provider right away to report any new or sudden changes in mood, behavior, thoughts, or feelings
  • EMSAM Transdermal System is not approved for use in patients under 18 years of age

Call a healthcare provider right away if you or someone you care for have any of the following symptoms, especially if they are new, worse, or worry you:

Thoughts about suicide or dying; attempts to commit suicide; new or worse depression, anxiety or irritability; feeling very agitated or restless; panic attacks; trouble sleeping; acting aggressive, being angry or violent; acting on dangerous impulses; an extreme increase in activity and talking; other unusual changes in behavior or mood.

  1. Do not eat or drink foods and beverages with high amounts of a substance called tyramine while on EMSAM 9 mg/24 hr or 12 mg/24 hr, and for 2 weeks after stopping these doses. Ask your healthcare professional or see the Medication Guide for a complete list of foods and drinks that must be avoided. EMSAM at any dose should not be used in children under 12 even when used with dietary modifications.
    • – Consuming tyramine-rich foods and beverages can lead to a sudden, large increase in blood pressure called “hypertensive crisis.” This is a serious medical condition that may be life-threatening. Seek immediate medical care if you experience any of these symptoms: sudden severe headache, nausea, stiff neck, vomiting, a fast or slow heartbeat or a change in the way your heart beats (palpitations), tight chest pain, a lot of sweating, confusion, dilated pupils, and sensitivity to light
  2. Tell your doctor about all medicines you take, including prescription and non-prescription medicines, vitamins and herbal supplements. Tell all of your healthcare professionals that you are using EMSAM.
    • • Due to the potential for serious and life-threatening side effects, do not use the following medicines while using EMSAM at any dose, and for 2 weeks after stopping EMSAM:
    • – Other medicines to treat depression (antidepressants) including other MAOI medicines; medicines which contain selegiline (such as Eldepryl®);  St. John’s Wort; narcotic pain medicines that contain meperidine e.g., Demerol®; pain medicines tramadol, methadone, or propoxyphene; medicines containing carbamazepine e.g., Tegretol® a seizure medicine and oxcarbazepine, e.g., Trileptal® a seizure medicine; cold / cough preparations, decongestants, over-the-counter diet pills or herbal weight-loss products containing pseudoephedrine, phenylephrine, phenylpropanolamine, dextromethorphan, or ephedrine; herbal or dietary supplements that contain tyramine; Flexeril® (cyclobenzaprine), a medicine used to treat muscle spasms; amphetamines (stimulants or “uppers”); and BuSpar® (buspirone), an anxiety medicine
    • Some of these medicines will have to be stopped for 1 week (or more) before you can start using EMSAM

What should I tell my doctor before starting EMSAM Transdermal System?

  • Tell your healthcare professional about any medical conditions, including if you:
    • – Have or had manic episodes (a mental condition that causes “high” moods)
    • – Have any heart problems
    • – Have or had seizures (convulsions or “fits”)
    • – Tend to get dizzy or faint
    • – Are planning to have surgery
    • – Are or intend to become pregnant
    • – Are breast-feeding

What are the possible side effects of EMSAM Transdermal System?

  • EMSAM may worsen your depression, give you suicidal thoughts, or cause unusual changes in behavior. Call your healthcare professional right away if you feel worse with EMSAM
  • EMSAM may cause mania or hypomania in people who have a history of mania
  • EMSAM may cause low blood pressure. Lie down if you feel dizzy, faint, or lightheaded and change positions gradually
  • The most common side effect of EMSAM is a skin irritation where the patch is placed. Other common side effects with EMSAM include: headache, difficulty sleeping, diarrhea, dry mouth

How should I use EMSAM Transdermal System?

  • Use EMSAM exactly as prescribed and do not stop or change treatment (even if you start to feel better) without talking to your health care professional
  • Use only one patch at a time and change the patch once a day (every 24 hours). If you use more than one EMSAM patch at a time, remove the patches right away and call your doctor or Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222

General advice about EMSAM Transdermal System

  • Avoid exposing the EMSAM application site to direct heat, such as heating pads, electric blankets, heat lamps, saunas, hot tubs, heated water beds, and prolonged direct sunlight
  • Do not drive or operate hazardous machinery until you know how EMSAM affects you as EMSAM can reduce your judgment, ability to think, or coordination. Avoid drinking alcohol while using EMSAM
  • Do not use EMSAM if you are allergic to anything in EMSAM. See the Medication Guide for a complete list of ingredients in EMSAM
  • If you have any questions about your health or medicines, talk to your healthcare professional

You are encouraged to report negative side effects of prescription drugs to the FDA.

Visit www.fda.gov/medwatch, or call 1-800-FDA-1088

Please see full Prescribing Information, including Boxed Warning and Medication Guide.