This open-label, two-phase cross-over study compared the safety and pharmacokinetics of transdermally administered selegiline and orally administered selegiline hydrochloride in elderly men and women (n = 6/gender). Single oral doses of 10 mg selegiline hydrochloride and single 1/2 and 1 selegiline transdermal system (STS) (delivering ~3.4 and 6.3 mg over 24 h) administered topically were safe and well tolerated in all subjects. Plasma concentrations of selegiline (SEL) and its N-desmethylselegiline (DMS), L-amphetamine (AMP), and L-methamphetamine (MET) metabolites were measured using an HPLC/MS/MS method with lower quantitation limits of 10, 50, 200, and 200 pg/mL, respectively. No significant gender-related differences were observed following single 10-mg oral doses of selegiline hydrochloride or single 24-h applications of 1/2 and 1 STS to elderly males and females. The low level of dermal irritation as assessed by erythema and edema rating scales suggests that the STS was similar to Band-Aid (Johnson & Johnson, Skillman, NJ) controls. The transdermal administration of SEL bypasses the first-pass metabolism that is significant after oral administration (first-pass extraction >90%). Peak plasma levels of 1.19, 23.22, 4.78, and 14.08 ng/mL were observed for SEL, DMS, AMP, and MET after a single 10-mg oral dose to the elderly. By contrast, peak plasma levels of 2.10, 0.85, 1.06, and 2.71 ng/mL were observed for SEL, DMS, AMP, and MET after a single 24-h application of 1 STS. Comparison of dose-corrected areas under the curve (AUCs) (made under the assumption of linear pharmacokmetics) indicate that SEL exposure after transdermal application was more than 50-fold greater than that obtained orally. This increase in systemic SEL exposure at the expense of metabolite formation that is reduced to <70% of that obtained orally for N-DMS, L-AMP, and L-MET is hypothesized to be of therapeutic value in patients with a variety of neurodegenerative and psychiatric disorders.