Generic Name: Phenelzine (FEN el zeen)
Brand Name: Nardil
Medically reviewed by Drugs.com. Last updated on Sep 13, 2020.
- Drugs like this one have raised the chance of suicidal thoughts or actions in children and young adults. The risk may be greater in people who have had these thoughts or actions in the past. All people who take phenelzine need to be watched closely. Call the doctor right away if signs like low mood (depression), nervousness, restlessness, grouchiness, panic attacks, or changes in mood or actions are new or worse. Call the doctor right away if any thoughts or actions of suicide occur.
- This medicine is not approved for use in children. Talk with the doctor.
Uses of Phenelzine:
- It is used to treat low mood (depression). It is most often given after other drugs have failed to help.
What do I need to tell my doctor BEFORE I take Phenelzine?
- If you are allergic to phenelzine; any part of phenelzine; or any other drugs, foods, or substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had.
- If you have any of these health problems: Heart failure, high blood pressure, kidney disease, or pheochromocytoma.
- If you have ever had liver problems.
- If you are having surgery, talk with your doctor.
- If you are taking any of these drugs: Buspirone, guanethidine, or meperidine.
- If you take any drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) that must not be taken with phenelzine like certain cough or cold remedies, diet pills, drugs for mental or mood problems like low mood (depression), or stimulants like amphetamine. There also may need to be some time between taking these drugs and phenelzine. There are many drugs that must not be taken for some time between stopping one drug and starting the other.
This is not a list of all drugs or health problems that interact with phenelzine.
Tell your doctor and pharmacist about all of your drugs (prescription or OTC, natural products, vitamins) and health problems. You must check to make sure that it is safe for you to take phenelzine with all of your drugs and health problems. Do not start, stop, or change the dose of any drug without checking with your doctor.
What are some things I need to know or do while I take Phenelzine?
- Tell all of your health care providers that you take phenelzine. This includes your doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and dentists.
- Avoid driving and doing other tasks or actions that call for you to be alert until you see how phenelzine affects you.
- To lower the chance of feeling dizzy or passing out, rise slowly if you have been sitting or lying down. Be careful going up and down stairs.
- High blood pressure has happened with phenelzine. Sometimes, this has been deadly. Have your blood pressure checked as you have been told by your doctor.
- If you have high blood sugar (diabetes), you will need to watch your blood sugar closely.
- Do not use OTC drugs that have dextromethorphan, phenylephrine, or pseudoephedrine. They may cause very high blood pressure when used with phenelzine.
- If you are taking phenelzine and have high blood pressure, talk with your doctor before using OTC products that may raise blood pressure. These include cough or cold drugs, diet pills, stimulants, ibuprofen or like products, and some natural products or aids.
- Some foods and drinks, like cheese and red wine, may cause sudden, severe high blood pressure when you are taking phenelzine. This effect can be deadly. Talk with your doctor about your risk for this effect. Get a list of foods and drinks to avoid. Avoid these foods and drinks for as long as your doctor has told you after phenelzine is stopped.
- If phenelzine is stopped, follow diet for at least 2 more weeks.
- Avoid alcohol or other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
- Limit your use of caffeine (for example, tea, coffee, cola) and chocolate. Use with phenelzine may cause nervousness, shakiness, and a fast heartbeat.
- If you have been taking phenelzine on a regular basis and you stop it all of a sudden, you may have signs of withdrawal. Do not stop taking phenelzine all of a sudden without calling your doctor. Tell your doctor if you have any bad effects.
- Tell your doctor if you are pregnant, plan on getting pregnant, or are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks to you and the baby.
How is this medicine (Phenelzine) best taken?
Use phenelzine as ordered by your doctor. Read all information given to you. Follow all instructions closely.
- Take with or without food.
- Keep taking phenelzine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
What do I do if I miss a dose?
- Take a missed dose as soon as you think about it.
- If it is close to the time for your next dose, skip the missed dose and go back to your normal time.
- Do not take 2 doses at the same time or extra doses.
What are some side effects that I need to call my doctor about right away?
WARNING/CAUTION: Even though it may be rare, some people may have very bad and sometimes deadly side effects when taking a drug. Tell your doctor or get medical help right away if you have any of the following signs or symptoms that may be related to a very bad side effect:
- Signs of high or low blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
- Chest pain or pressure.
- Fast, slow, or abnormal heartbeat.
- Neck stiffness.
- Sweating a lot.
- Larger pupils.
- If bright lights bother your eyes.
- Trouble controlling body movements.
- Not able to get or keep an erection.
- Ejaculation problems.
- Not able to have an orgasm.
- Some people may have a higher chance of eye problems with phenelzine. Your doctor may want you to have an eye exam to see if you have a higher chance of these eye problems. Call your doctor right away if you have eye pain, change in eyesight, or swelling or redness in or around the eye.
What are some other side effects of Phenelzine?
All drugs may cause side effects. However, many people have no side effects or only have minor side effects. Call your doctor or get medical help if any of these side effects or any other side effects bother you or do not go away:
- Trouble sleeping.
- Feeling dizzy, sleepy, tired, or weak.
- Dry mouth.
- Upset stomach or throwing up.
- Weight gain.
These are not all of the side effects that may occur. If you have questions about side effects, call your doctor. Call your doctor for medical advice about side effects.
If OVERDOSE is suspected:
How do I store and/or throw out Phenelzine?
- Store at room temperature in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
- Protect from heat and light.
- Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
Consumer information use
- If your symptoms or health problems do not get better or if they become worse, call your doctor.
- Do not share your drugs with others and do not take anyone else's drugs.
- This medicine comes with an extra patient fact sheet called a Medication Guide. Read it with care. Read it again each time phenelzine is refilled. If you have any questions about phenelzine, please talk with the doctor, pharmacist, or other health care provider.
Frequently Asked Questions
More about phenelzine
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- Drug class: monoamine oxidase inhibitors
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Other brands: Nardil