Generic Name: Phenelzine Brand Name(s): Generics only. No brands available.

Uses

What is Phenelzine used for?

Phenelzine is an antidepressant (monoamine oxidase inhibitor). This medication treats depression by restoring the balance of certain natural substances (neurotransmitters) in the brain. Phenelzine can improve your mood and feelings of well-being. Usually, this medication is used in persons who have not responded to treatment with other drugs.

How should I take Phenelzine?

Take this medication by mouth, usually 1 to 3 times a day as directed by your doctor. This medication may be taken with or without food. Dosage is based on your medical condition and response to therapy.

To reduce your risk of side effects, your doctor may start you at a low dose and gradually increase your dose. Once your condition improves and you are better for a while, your doctor may work with you to reduce your regular dose. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully. Do not take more or less medication or take it more frequently than prescribed. Your condition will not improve any faster and your risk of side effects will increase.

Use this medication regularly in order to get the most benefit from it. To help you remember, use it at the same time(s) each day. It may take several weeks for the full benefits of this medication to be noticed. Do not stop taking this medication without consulting your doctor.

This medication may cause withdrawal reactions, especially if it has been used regularly for a long time or in high doses. In such cases, withdrawal symptoms (such as restlessness, confusion, hallucinations, headache, weakness, and diarrhea) may occur if you suddenly stop using this medication. To prevent withdrawal reactions, your doctor may reduce your dose gradually. Consult your doctor or pharmacist for more details, and report any withdrawal reactions right away.

Inform your doctor if your condition persists or worsens.

How do I store Phenelzine?

Phenelzine is best stored at room temperature away from direct light and moisture. To prevent drug damage, you should not store Phenelzine in the bathroom or the freezer. There may be different brands of Phenelzine that may have different storage needs. It is important to always check the product package for instructions on storage, or ask your pharmacist. For safety, you should keep all medicines away from children and pets.

You should not flush Phenelzine down the toilet or pour them into a drain unless instructed to do so. It is important to properly discard this product when it is expired or no longer needed. Consult your pharmacist for more details about how to safely discard your product.

Precautions & warnings

What should I know before using Phenelzine?

Before taking phenelzine, tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are allergic to it; or if you have any other allergies. This product may contain inactive ingredients, which can cause allergic reactions or other problems. Talk to your pharmacist for more details.

This medication should not be used if you have certain medical conditions. Before using this medicine, consult your doctor or pharmacist if you have: a certain kind of adrenal gland tumor (pheochromocytoma), cerebrovascular disease (e.g., stroke), heart problems (e.g., congestive heart failure, heart attack), high blood pressure, history of severe/frequent headaches, liver problems, severe kidney disease.

Before using this medication, tell your doctor or pharmacist your medical history, especially of: personal/family history of mental/mood disorders (e.g., schizophrenia, bipolar disorder), family history of high blood pressure, heart disease (e.g., coronary artery disease, history of chest pain), mild/moderate kidney disease, diabetes, certain nervous system diseases (Parkinson’s disease, seizures), overactive thyroid (hyperthyroidism), personal/family history of glaucoma (angle-closure type).

This drug may make you dizzy or drowsy. Alcohol or marijuana can make you more dizzy or drowsy. Do not drive, use machinery, or do anything that needs alertness until you can do it safely. Avoid alcoholic beverages. Talk to your doctor if you are using marijuana.

To minimize dizziness and the risk of fainting, get up slowly when rising from a sitting or lying position.

Before having surgery or any procedures requiring use of contrast dye (e.g., myelography), tell your doctor or dentist you are on this medication. You may need to stop taking this drug beforehand. Follow your doctor’s instructions carefully.

If you have heart disease, this medication may mask chest pain. Avoid strenuous exercise while taking this medication.

If you have diabetes, phenelzine may lower your blood sugar. Check your blood sugar regularly as directed and share the results with your doctor. Tell your doctor right away if you have symptoms of low blood sugar such as sudden sweating, shaking, fast heartbeat, hunger, blurred vision, dizziness, or tingling hands/feet. Your doctor may need to adjust your diabetes medication, exercise program, or diet.

Caution is advised when using this drug in the elderly because they may be more sensitive to the effects of the drug, especially the effects on blood pressure.

This medication should be used only when clearly needed during pregnancy. Discuss the risks and benefits with your doctor.

Since untreated mental/mood problems (such as depression) can be a serious condition, do not stop taking this medication unless directed by your doctor. If you are planning pregnancy, become pregnant, or think you may be pregnant, immediately discuss with your doctor the benefits and risks of using this medication during pregnancy.

It is not known whether this drug passes into breast milk. Consult your doctor before breast-feeding.

Is it safe during pregnancy or breast-feeding?

There are no adequate studies in women for determining risk when using this Phenelzine during pregnancy or while breastfeeding. Please always consult with your doctor to weigh the potential benefits and risks before taking Phenelzine. Phenelzine is pregnancy risk category N according to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

FDA pregnancy risk category reference below:

  • A=No risk,
  • B=No risk in some studies,
  • C=There may be some risk,
  • D=Positive evidence of risk,
  • X=Contraindicated,
  • N=Unknown

Side effects

What side effects can occur from Phenelzine?

Dizziness, drowsiness, tiredness, weakness, problems sleeping, constipation, and dry mouth may occur. If any of these effects persist or worsen, notify your doctor or pharmacist promptly.

Remember that your doctor has prescribed this medication because he or she has judged that the benefit to you is greater than the risk of side effects. Many people using this medication do not have serious side effects.

Tell your doctor right away if any of these unlikely but serious side effects occur: fainting, mental/mood changes (e.g., agitation, confusion), muscle stiffness, changes in sexual ability/interest, shaking (tremor), shivering, swollen ankles/legs, unusual weight gain, eye pain/swelling/redness, vision changes (e.g., double/blurred vision).

Tell your doctor right away if any of these highly unlikely but very serious side effects occur: severe stomach/abdominal pain, persistent nausea/vomiting, seizures, dark urine, yellowing eyes/skin.

This drug may rarely cause an attack of extremely high blood pressure (hypertensive crisis), which may be fatal. Many drug and food interactions can increase this risk (See also Drug Interaction section.) Stop taking phenelzine and seek immediate medical attention if any of these serious side effects occur: frequent/severe headache, fast/slow/irregular/pounding heartbeat, chest pain, neck stiffness/soreness, severe nausea/vomiting, sweating/clammy skin (sometimes with fever), widened pupils, sudden sensitivity to light (photophobia).

This medication may increase serotonin and rarely cause a very serious condition called serotonin syndrome/toxicity. The risk increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin, so tell your doctor or pharmacist of all the drugs you take (see Drug Interactions section). Get medical help right away if you develop some of the following symptoms: fast heartbeat, hallucinations, loss of coordination, severe dizziness, severe nausea/vomiting/diarrhea, twitching muscles, unexplained fever, unusual agitation/restlessness.

A serious allergic reaction to this drug is unlikely, but seek immediate medical attention if it occurs. Symptoms of a serious allergic reaction include: rash, itching/swelling (especially of the face/tongue/throat), dizziness, trouble breathing.

Not everyone experiences these side effects. There may be some side effects not listed above. If you have any concerns about a side-effect, please consult your doctor or pharmacist.

Interactions

What drugs may interact with Phenelzine?

Some products that may interact with this drug include: other antidepressants (including maprotiline, mirtazapine, nefazodone, TCAs such as amitriptyline/nortriptyline), appetite suppressants (such as diethylpropion), drugs for attention deficit disorder (such as atomoxetine, methylphenidate), apraclonidine, bupropion, buspirone, carbamazepine, cyclobenzaprine, deutetrabenazine, dextromethorphan, certain drugs for high blood pressure (such as guanethidine, methyldopa, beta blockers such as atenolol, clonidine, rauwolfia alkaloids such as reserpine), other MAO inhibitors (isocarboxazid, linezolid, methylene blue, moclobemide, procarbazine, rasagiline, safinamide, selegiline, tranylcypromine), certain narcotic medications (such as fentanyl, meperidine, methadone, tapentadol), certain drugs for Parkinson’s (such as entacapone, levodopa, tolcapone), street drugs (such as LSD, mescaline), stimulants (such as amphetamines, cocaine, dopamine, epinephrine, phenylalanine), tetrabenazine, “triptan” migraine drugs (such as sumatriptan, rizatriptan), tramadol, tyrosine, tryptophan, valbenazine.

The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity increases if you are also taking other drugs that increase serotonin. Examples include street drugs such as MDMA/ “ecstasy,” St. John’s wort, certain antidepressants (including SSRIs such as fluoxetine/paroxetine, SNRIs such as duloxetine/venlafaxine), among others. The risk of serotonin syndrome/toxicity may be more likely when you start or increase the dose of these drugs.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are using any of these medications before, during, or within 2 weeks after treatment with phenelzine. Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you have taken fluoxetine during at least 5 weeks before starting phenelzine. Discuss with your doctor how much time to wait between starting or stopping any of these drugs and taking phenelzine.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist if you are taking other products that cause drowsiness such as opioid pain or cough relievers (such as codeine, hydrocodone), alcohol, marijuana, drugs for sleep or anxiety (such as alprazolam, lorazepam, zolpidem), muscle relaxants (such as carisoprodol, cyclobenzaprine), or antihistamines (such as cetirizine, diphenhydramine).

Check the labels on all your medicines (such as allergy, cough-and-cold products, decongestants, diet pills) because they may contain dextromethorphan, decongestants, stimulants, or ingredients that cause drowsiness. Ask your pharmacist about the safe use of those products.

Phenelzine may interact with other drugs that you are currently taking, which can change how your drug works or increase your risk for serious side effects. To avoid any potential drug interactions, you should keep a list of all the drugs you are using (including prescription drugs, nonprescription drugs and herbal products) and share it with your doctor and pharmacist. For your safety, do not start, stop, or change the dosage of any drugs without your doctor’s approval.

Does food or alcohol interact with Phenelzine?

Phenelzine may interact with food or alcohol by altering the way the drug works or increase the risk for serious side effects. Please discuss with your doctor or pharmacist any potential food or alcohol interactions before using this drug.

It is very important that you follow special dietary restrictions in order to limit the amount of tyramine in your diet. Avoid drinking large amounts of beverages containing caffeine (coffee, tea, colas) or eating large amounts of chocolate. Caffeine can increase the side effects of this medication. Foods and beverages high in tyramine should be avoided while you are taking this medication and for at least 2 weeks after you stop using this medication.

Foods high in tyramine include: aged cheeses (cheddar, camembert, emmenthaler, brie, stilton blue, gruyere, gouda, brick, bleu, roquefort, boursault, parmesan, romano, provolone, liederdranz, colby, edam), aged/dried/fermented/salted/smoked/pickled/processed meats and fish (includes bacon, summer sausage, liverwurst, hot dogs, corned beef, pepperoni, salami, bologna, ham, mortadella, pickled or dried herring), banana peel, beef/chicken liver (stored, not fresh), bouillon cubes, commercial gravies, concentrated yeast extracts, fava beans, Italian green beans, broad beans, fermented bean curd, homemade yeast-leavened bread, kim chee (Korean fermented cabbage), orange pulp, overripe or spoiled fruits, packaged soups, red wine, sauerkraut, sherry, snow pea pods, sourdough bread, soy sauce, soybeans, soybean paste/miso, tofu, tap beer and ale, vermouth.

Moderate-to-low tyramine content foods include: alcohol-free beer, avocados, bananas, bottled beer and ale, chocolate and products made with chocolate, coffee, cola, cultured dairy products (such as buttermilk, yogurt, sour cream), distilled spirits, eggplant, canned figs, fish roe (caviar), green bean pods, pate, peanuts, port wine, raisins, raspberries, red plums, spinach, tomatoes, white wine.

Tell your doctor or pharmacist right away if you notice symptoms of high blood pressure such as fast/slow heartbeat, vomiting, sweating, headache, chest pain, sudden vision changes, weakness on one side of the body, or slurred speech.

Contact your healthcare professionals (e.g., doctor, pharmacist, dietician) for more information, including recommendations for your diet.

What health conditions may interact with Phenelzine?

Phenelzine may interact with your health condition. This interaction may worsen your health condition or alter the way the drug works. It is important to always let your doctor and pharmacist know all the health conditions you currently have.

Dosage

The information provided is not a substitute for any medical advice. You should ALWAYS consult with your doctor or pharmacist before using this Phenelzine.

What is the dose of Phenelzine for an adult?

Usual Adult Dose for Depression

Initial dose: 15 mg, orally, 3 times a day

Early phase treatment: Increase to at least 60 mg per day fairly rapidly, as tolerated

-90 mg per day may be needed for sufficient MAO inhibition

-Clinical response may not be seen until at least 4 weeks at 60 mg per day dosing

Maintenance dose: After maximal benefit is achieved, reduce dose slowly over several weeks.

-Maintenance dose may be as low as 15 mg once a day or 15 mg every other day

Duration of therapy: As long as required

Comments:

-This drug should rarely be the first antidepressant used; it is more suitable for patients unresponsive to more commonly used medications.

-This drug is effective in depressed patients characterized as atypical, nonendogenous, or neurotic, who often have mixed anxiety and depression and phobic or hypochondriacal features.

-Evidence of usefulness in severely depressed patients with endogenous features is less conclusive.

Other Comments

Monitoring:

-Monitor for clinical worsening, suicidality, or unusual changes in behavior, especially during the first few months of therapy and during dose changes.

-Hypertensive crisis is the most important adverse reaction with this drug, watch for some or all of the following symptoms: occipital headache with may radiate frontally, palpitation, neck stiffness or soreness, nausea, vomiting, sweating (sometimes with fever and sometimes with cold, clammy skin), dilated pupils, and photophobia. Either tachycardia or bradycardia may be present, and can be associated with constricting chest pain.

-Observe blood pressure frequently.

-Discontinue therapy immediately for palpitation or frequent headaches.

Patient advice:

-Patients should not take sympathomimetic drugs (including amphetamines, cocaine, methylphenidate, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine) or related compounds (including methyldopa, L-dopa, L-tryptophan, L-tyrosine, and phenylalanine).

-Patients should avoid high protein foods that have undergone protein breakdown by aging, fermentation, pickling, smoking, or bacterial contamination.

-Patients should avoid cheeses (especially aged varieties), pickled herring, beer, wine, alcohol-free or reduced-alcohol beer or wine, liver, yeast extract (including large quantities of brewer’s yeast), dry sausage (including Genoa salami, hard salami, pepperoni, and Lebanon bologna), pods of broad beans (fava beans), sauerkraut, meat extract, and yogurt.

-Excessive amounts of caffeine and chocolate may cause hypertensive reactions.

-Patients should avoid the following over-the-counter medications: cold and cough preparations (including those with dextromethorphan), nasal decongestants (tablets, drops, or spray), hay fever medications, sinus medications, anti-appetite medicines, weight reducing preparations, “pep” pills, L-tryptophan containing preparations.

What is the dose of Phenelzine for a child?

The dosage has not been established in pediatric patients. It may be unsafe for your child. It is always important to fully understand the safety of the drug before using. Please consult with your doctor or pharmacist for more information.

How is Phenelzine available?

Phenelzine is available in the following dosage forms and strengths:

  • Oral tablet

What should I do in case of an emergency or overdose?

In case of an emergency or an overdose, call your local emergency services or go to your nearest emergency room.

What should I do if I miss a dose?

If you miss a dose of Phenelzine, take it as soon as possible. However, if it is almost time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and take your regular dose as scheduled. Do not take a double dose.

 

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: April 11, 2018 | Last Modified: April 11, 2018