Skin Patch Said to Fight Depression

From Associated Press

Depressed people who got an antidepressant through a skin patch showed unusually fast relief, a researcher says.

The effect was apparent one week into a study, while antidepressants generally require two weeks or more to take effect, said researcher Dr. Alexander Bodkin of McLean Hospital in Belmont, Mass. A one-week response is unusual but not unheard of in antidepressant studies, he said.

Prior studies have shown that antidepressants work faster if injected than if swallowed, Bodkin said.

He stressed that the new findings are only preliminary and must be duplicated in another study, which has already begun. Bodkin said in a telephone interview that he hasn’t formally reported the result or written it up yet for a journal. The study was financed by the drug’s manufacturer.


Participants put on a new patch every day. Eighty-nine participants wore patches containing the drug Eldepryl, which is approved in the United States for treating Parkinson’s disease but is also sometimes used for depression. Eighty-eight others wore patches without any drug.

At one week, and generally throughout the six-week study, people wearing the drug-containing patch showed about 50% more improvement than the other participants, Bodkin said. There was no difference in reported side effects, he said.