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Phenelzine

Generic Name: Phenelzine (FEN el zeen)
Brand Name: Nardil

Medically reviewed on May 2, 2018

Warning

  • 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 have an allergy to phenelzine or any other part of phenelzine.
  • If you are allergic to any drugs like this one, any other drugs, foods, or other substances. Tell your doctor about the allergy and what signs you had, like rash; hives; itching; shortness of breath; wheezing; cough; swelling of face, lips, tongue, or throat; or any other signs.
  • 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 meperidine.
  • If you are taking guanethidine.
  • 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.
  • Avoid alcohol or other drugs and natural products that slow your actions.
  • Avoid use of caffeine (for example, tea, coffee, cola) and chocolate. Use with phenelzine may cause high blood pressure, nervousness, shakiness, a fast heartbeat, and anxiety.
  • 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 or plan on getting pregnant. You will need to talk about the benefits and risks of using phenelzine while you are pregnant.
  • Tell your doctor if you are breast-feeding. You will need to talk about any risks to your 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.
  • To gain the most benefit, do not miss doses.
  • Keep taking phenelzine as you have been told by your doctor or other health care provider, even if you feel well.
  • Some foods and drinks like cheese and red wine, when taken with phenelzine, may cause very risky effects such as sudden high blood pressure. To avoid these problems, get a list of foods to avoid.
  • If phenelzine is stopped, follow diet for at least 2 more weeks.

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.

See also: Dosage Information (in more detail)

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 an allergic reaction, like rash; hives; itching; red, swollen, blistered, or peeling skin with or without fever; wheezing; tightness in the chest or throat; trouble breathing, swallowing, or talking; unusual hoarseness; or swelling of the mouth, face, lips, tongue, or throat.
  • Signs of high blood pressure like very bad headache or dizziness, passing out, or change in eyesight.
  • If you are planning to harm yourself or the want to harm yourself gets worse.
  • Chest pain or pressure.
  • Very upset stomach or throwing up.
  • A heartbeat that does not feel normal.
  • Neck stiffness.
  • Sweating a lot.
  • Larger pupils.
  • If bright lights bother your eyes.
  • Fast or slow heartbeat.
  • Not able to pass urine.
  • A burning, numbness, or tingling feeling that is not normal.
  • Not able to control eye movements.
  • Seizures.
  • Very nervous and excitable.
  • Trouble controlling body movements, twitching, change in balance, trouble swallowing or speaking.
  • 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:

  • Headache.
  • Hard stools (constipation).
  • Not able to sleep.
  • Dizziness.
  • Feeling sleepy.
  • Feeling tired or weak.
  • Dry mouth.
  • Upset stomach or throwing up.
  • Weight gain.
  • Shakiness.

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.

You may report side effects to the FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088. You may also report side effects at http://www.fda.gov/medwatch.

See also: Side effects (in more detail)

If OVERDOSE is suspected:

If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

How do I store and/or throw out Phenelzine?

  • Store at room temperature.
  • Store in a dry place. Do not store in a bathroom.
  • Keep all drugs in a safe place. Keep all drugs out of the reach of children and pets.
  • Throw away unused or expired drugs. Do not flush down a toilet or pour down a drain unless you are told to do so. Check with your pharmacist if you have questions about the best way to throw out drugs. There may be drug take-back programs in your area.

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.
  • Keep a list of all your drugs (prescription, natural products, vitamins, OTC) with you. Give this list to your doctor.
  • Talk with the doctor before starting any new drug, including prescription or OTC, natural products, or vitamins.
  • 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.
  • If you think there has been an overdose, call your poison control center or get medical care right away. Be ready to tell or show what was taken, how much, and when it happened.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

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